Huge Bill Payment Service Suspended by Paypal, Will Plastiq Step Up?

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TIO is the largest bill payment processor for telecommunications, wireless phone, cable and utility payments. They serve 16 million consumer accounts, and work not just with utility providers but they also serve as the backend for several products servicing unbanked customers.

They were acquired by Paypal in July. Paypal suspended the service at the end of last week citing security vulnerabilities they had discovered.

When Uber and Lyft left the Austin market, other services like Fasten and RideAustin entered the market and filled a consumer need. Those services suffered once Uber and Lyft returned.

The suspension of TIO services, given their scale, is also a huge opportunity for competitor services. It’s a real opportunity for Plastiq to step up. I’ve used them to the tune of six figures since I first learned about the service a couple of years ago myself.

Plastiq will charge your credit card and mail a check. In some cases they now support electronic funds transfers. You can pay bills (and even mortgages but that’s MasterCard only for most customers currently) and earn miles, great for meeting minimum spend requirements and spending thresholds for bonuses but not as good for everyday bills given the 2.5% fee that most bills face — though they’ve also run 0% fees on utility payments in the past.

This is an opportunity to win business, let’s hope they’re ready for it, and that they can maintain their gains if they do step up.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. I haven’t found a ton of info on this but why are they having so many issues with Amex and Visa? It sucks not being able to use your preferred cards for transactions through them, especially for legitimate purposes.

  2. Has anyone been able to get in touch with Tio to find out what will happen to any payments that were in-progress when the service was abruptly shutdown? My accounts were charged, but the payments were never sent/received… my attempts to get in touch with anyone that has any sort of useful information have been less than fruitful thus far. Has anyone else had any luck?

  3. @Tom (and anyone else who had in-process payments when they TIO shut down) customer support is still answering their phones. I had some payments initiated on Nov 9th (the day before they shut things down) that just arrived today Nov 17th as phone support predicted. Seems like the last batch of payments is taking a little longer than usual but should [hopefully] show up eventually.

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