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Verizon Customers Can Avoid Overdraft Fees Through BNY Mellon’s Real-Time eBills Functionality

BNY Mellon and Citi have collaborated with Verizon to be the first company to send request-for-payment messages to consumers who bank with Citi. When using BNY Mellon’s new Real-Time E-Bills and Payments functionality, Verizon customers with Citibank accounts can pay their bills immediately, at any time of day, 365 days a year, and enjoy greater control over their finances to help avoid overdraft fees.

Additionally, Verizon customers who bank at Citi can use Citibank Online to schedule the payment to be made at a specified date and time in the future, such as on their next recurring payday or as an on-demand
payout from a platform supporting a supplementary income stream, such as a ride-hailing or food delivery
app.

“While setting up automatic bill payments is convenient for many customers, living with weekly budgets or
irregular income streams can be a challenge,” said Kate Luft, Head of Retail US Segments and Products
at Citi. “Real-Time Bill Pay gives people greater control to pay the bills they want to pay precisely when
they want to pay them. We look forward to expanding this program.”

Verizon’s use of BNY Mellon’s Real-Time E-Bills and Payments functionality presents a major enhancement over setting up standing payment instructions across the ACH network, since automated payments can encounter insufficient fund balances, generating overdraft fees and other expenses, adding undue frustration to consumers and creating exception scenarios for billers.

Unlike an ACH transaction or a paper check, Real-Time E-Bills and Payments are immediate and fully
controlled by the consumer, who can authorise and schedule each payment to who they want to pay, when
they want. The secure payment also provides the consumer with full transparency, including the ability to
receive an instant acknowledgement confirming that a monthly obligation has been satisfied. This eliminates uncertainty around when funds will be debited from a consumer’s account and avoids the interchange fees charged for credit and debit card payments.

While real-time payments were previously available for bank-to-bank transactions for large organisations,
this is the first at-scale use of the technology in production with retail customers. This innovative functionality revolutionises the bill pay experience for both the biller and the customer, connecting BNY
Mellon as the billing bank, Verizon as the biller and Citi as the customer’s bank, with the transaction
transmitting in real time over The Clearing House’s RTP network.

“We are thrilled to be working with Verizon on rolling out our Real-Time E-Bills and Payments capabilities to
retail customers for the first time,” said Robin Vince, Vice Chair of BNY Mellon and CEO of Global Market
Infrastructure. “Retail customers have grown accustomed to using instant payment apps for small value
purchases but have not had access to the same functionality or the enhanced security benefits Real-Time
Payments provides for paying their phone, internet and other bills. Today’s announcement fills in this gap in
the marketplace, and we look forward to rolling out Real-Time E-Bills and Payments to customers across
the US.”

“Verizon is always looking to provide our customers with choices that can benefit their lifestyles. Real-Time
Bill Pay allows our customers to choose when their payments are made and gives them more control over their personal finances. We are pleased to be the first and only provider to offer this product to its customers,” said Dan Gerola, Head of Order to Cash, SVP of Finance Operations at Verizon.

The commercialisation of real-time payments for consumer bill pay expands the benefits of instantaneous
payments for billers and retail customers alike and ushers in a new period of information-rich and intelligent
transaction banking.

The launch of the Verizon program underscores the importance of and investment into real-time payments
being made by both BNY Mellon and Citi, which were among the first banks to connect into The Clearing
House RTP network that launched in 2017, and is the first new core infrastructure introduced into US
payments since the ACH network launched in 1974.

Real-Time E-Bills and Payments represents just the latest enhancement BNY Mellon has rolled out in its
continuing drive to make the global payments system more efficient. The firm was the first institution to originate a payment on the RTP network. In May 2021, the firm announced the launch of its Real-Time EBills and Payments capability, a functionality with the potential to transform the inefficient and antiquated processes underpinning the estimated 15 billion bills paid in the US annually.

Citi’s retail bank is the first to offer full capabilities via RTP to support US billers like Verizon, offering a
comprehensive and end-to-end suite of Request for Pay capabilities. Citi now offers instant payments in 27
countries around the world and processes two million real-time-payments transactions daily.

Author

  • Francis is a junior journalist with a BA in Classical Civilization, he has a specialist interest in North and South America.

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