Prism flips consumer bill payments to alternative tenders

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Handle Financial’s online bill-payment service Prism has turned on a new feature enabling consumers to pay bills in real time from any of 11,000 U.S. billers via credit or debit cards, even when those options aren’t directly supported by the biller.

For example, Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Prism can convert credit card payments to ACH transfers for a fee, a service that’s useful for many mortgage and auto loan payments that require payment from a bank account, Prism announced Tuesday. Prism relies on Handle’s money-transmitter licenses to convert tender types.

Prism is also preparing to add more payment options to its service, including enabling users to pay bills in cash, using the retail cash payment network operated by sister company PayNearMe, which has connections to 27,000 stores including thousands of CVS and 7-Eleven locations, said Richard Kang, Handle Financial’s senior vice president of consumer channel.

“We want to add third-party apps and mobile wallets, too, because our users have made it clear they want maximum flexibility for same-day bill payment,” Kang said.

Prism, launched in 2012, primarily serves consumers with bank accounts, with a large percentage of millennials who rank the service high for its snapshot-based tools reminding users about the amount and deadline for bills. Users who share their bill payment and bank account credentials with Prism may view the status of all their bills paid and due through a single login, with warnings to avoid late payments.

“Unlike broader money-management apps, Prism focuses primarily on bill payments, and we streamline the process with reminders telling users the exact status of bills that need to be paid, combined with many options for how to pay them,” Kang said.

Prism is still smaller than PayNearMe, which launched in 2009 and processed $1.2 billion in bill payments last year. Prism this month reached a total of $1 billion in bill payments processed since its launch, but its growth rate has surged over the last year, Kang said.

“We’re on track to hit another big milestone soon, especially as more bill-payment methods become available,” he said.

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