Marwan Forzley is president and CEO of online payment alternative eBillme (Modasolutions.com), formerly known as SECURE-eBill.
How does a consumer use eBillme?
Forzley: When you are at the checkout, there are all kinds of payment options. You’ve got Visa, MasterCard and American Express. eBillme is presented next to the credit cards. When you click on it, it takes the order information and presents you an ebill on the screen on your browser and sends you a copy of that ebill via email. The consumer then logs into his bank and pays the merchant through the consumer’s bank’s online bill payment option.
It sounds like how I might pay my electric bill through my bank. Is that correct?
Forzley: People know how to use their bank’s bill payment option, so we are really just tapping into that behavior, enabling consumers to not only pay the utility bill using online banking, but to pay their favorite merchant.
Is it as simple as going to my online bank and adding a new payee?
Forzley: Correct. It is exactly like paying any other bill.
So, a consumer never has to provide his/her credit card information to the merchant?
Forzley: Correct. All the consumer is giving the merchant is an email address, and then the consumer is getting electronic invoice for his purchase. He then logs into his bank and pays the bill.
Is adding the eBillme payment option a difficult process for a merchant?
Forzley: There is an API very similar to a credit card API that integrates our system to the merchant’s infrastructure, both the shopping cart and the bank office. It is a relatively easy API to work with.
How are merchants charged for this service?
Forzley: It is strictly transaction fees only. We charge a percent of the sale, 1 percent, and in some instances, 1.5 percent depending on the size and volume, but that is about it. There are no service fees. There are no back fees or hidden fees. It is a pretty straightforward business model.
Paying 1 percent to 1.5 percent for a transaction fee is probably less than a merchant is paying with a credit card fee, correct?
Forzley: It is half almost, actually. For the large merchants it is half the price of the credit cards, and, for the smaller merchants, it is about 30 percent savings.
If I am running a multichannel operation where I have a catalog, a call center as well as my online operation, can this product work in that environment?
Forzley: Absolutely. If a consumer calls but is worried about providing a merchant his credit card number or bank account information, as long as the consumer has online banking, the call center agent will simply send the consumer an ebill. The consumer then logs into his bank and pays.
Can eBillme really help consumers and merchants battle credit card fraud?
Forzley: In the offline world, the buyer and the seller see each other, so the seller verifies the identity of the buyer before a purchase. In the online world, the buyer and the seller do not see each other, so the buyer is looking for ways to do a transaction without giving any personal financial information to the merchant.The merchant is looking for ways to know a lot more about the consumer so the merchant can verify he is dealing with the right cardholder. That is where eBillme comes in. It can help both the consumer and the merchant. The consumers are providing no information to the merchant, just their email address, to complete the transaction, and they then log into their bank and pay the merchant the same way they pay their phone bill or their electric bill. The merchant is authenticating the consumer via the banks. We have a situation where the merchant and the consumer are both known to their banking organization, and the money moves bank to bank.