CVS Pharmacy is the latest retailer to join PayNearMe’s network for walk-in bill payment, expanding the service’s geographic reach by about 40%, to 28,000 U.S. stores.

Beginning this month at CVS stores nationwide, consumers may make government and child support payments, along with bill payments to organizations including the IRS, Comcast, Greyhound, Grameen America and Oportun, using PayNearMe’s barcode technology, according to PayNearMe.

PayNearMe enables consumers to obtain a bar code sent to their phone from billers and other payees. At participating stores, consumers present the bar code and cash to complete a near real-time payment at the checkout.

CVS storefront
Bloomberg News

PayNearMe already supports walk-in payments through 7-Eleven, Family Dollar, ACE Cash Express and Fidelity Express stores, but this still leaves some coverage gaps, said Mike Kaplan, senior vice president and general manager of the Sunnyvale, Calif.-based company.

“7-Eleven is a great partner and one of our earliest, but their footprint is concentrated in certain regions and there are gaps in parts of Texas, Florida and the Northeast we aren’t reaching,” Kaplan said.

Despite the spread of digital payments and a slight decline in recent years in the number of unbanked households, the FDIC estimates that about 27% of U.S. households are unbanked or underbanked, representing tens of millions of dollars in cash transactions annually.

“Our business continues to grow at a nice rate, and we estimate about 45% of lower-income households still conduct about a third of their transactions in business, which is a huge market,” Kaplan said.

Routine bill payments, online purchases and monthly rent are two of the biggest cash-payment categories for PayNearMe, he said.

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