October 21, 2013
There are enough ways to make bill payments now. But people still forget to pay bills on time and late bill payments remains an issue. Autopay (by Banks) will never see huge uptake for obvious reasons. Check Inc. (formerly Pageonce), has seen late payments as a business opportunity and is helping bill payers streamline their bill payment on time through their proprietary app.
If we look at how Check Inc. was started - they were not in the business of creating and managing a financial app. Initially, Check acted as a web-based personal assistant for its users which could keep a track of items like travel reservations, rewards program points, itineraries, social media accounts, e-commerce accounts, e-mail and bills. Gradually, Check saw a rise in its customers asking to introduce financial features. Which led Check to make changes to its offerings.
Check Inc. was established in 2007, with an initial funding of $1.5 Mn from Bobby Lent and Liron Petrushka. Since its inception Check Inc. has been able to gather $47 Mn in funding. Check Inc is currently headed by Guy Goldstein (CEO & Co-Founder). Built on the financial accounting aggregator model, Check, a mobile and web based banking app was introduced in 2010. Check Inc, claimed that Check app could allow users to pay bills and track bank, credit card, investment, and loan transactions.
Here’s an insight on what Check app enables its users to do?
On signing-up, the Check app requests a user to integrate account details - bank, financial investments, and the bill accounts including gas, cable,etc.
It then shows a user the status on every one of the accounts, manage the accounts and reminds a users on the due date of the bills.
The app also allows a user to pay the bills through the app
Watch Check at work in this video:
Check Inc. makes revenue when people use their credit cards to carry out transactions. Until April, 2012 the company used to charge $4.99 per month for its users. Check, Inc. later switched to charging a per transaction convenience fee for bill payments using a credit card. Check, Inc. also gains revenue from targeted money saving offers to its users according to Daniel Kjellen, VP of Marketing, Check, Inc. According to Forbes, Check Inc’s month-over-month payments volume is about 30% or about $1.5 million per day.
Not everything’s right with Check Inc’s mobile banking app. In the past, several Check users have reported trouble adding their accounts from various banks due to sync issues. Which led them to switch to another banking app. One of the other reasons why users are concerned about making transactions through Check app is security. User’s feel it is not safe to put all their eggs in one basket…or accounts in this case, making them to switch to other bill payment platforms.
Mint is one of the major competitors for Check Inc. Mint's primary service allows users to track bank, credit card, investment, and loan transactions and balances through a single user interface as well as make budgets and goals. Other competitors or similar apps in the market include Bill Tracker, Manilla, Bill Minder, etc.
LTP View: By combining personal finance features and payments on a mobile device, Check Inc. may have created a great value proposition. Looking at their monthly payments volume and the revenue earned, the value proposition created by Check Inc, may have started to pay off. With the interest from investors and the media it would be interesting to note how Check Inc. would evolve.
Lot of banks offer reminders for bill payments in their mobile apps. As a third party what Check Inc. is offering may not look too unique in the market. But one of things we noticed is the way they have taken care of user experience. The ease of use, simplicity and integrating payment reminders with account balance has gotten them very high user ratings. They definitely also have the media buzz.