PostPoint service allows customers to pay bills as they shop

 

BILL PAYMENTS: People can pop into their nearest newsagent and settle a phone bill while buying groceries with An Post's latest bill-paying initiative

The latest bill payment initiative from An Post will bring new meaning to the term one-stop shop. Lets hope it doesn't lead to till rage. From now on the person ahead of you in the queue at the corner shop till will, among other things, be able to pay their gas bill while buying a pint of milk.

PostPoint, the electronic payment service network, offers consumers a range of services including bill payments, mobile top-up services, electronic phonecards and stamps in newsagents and convenience stores.

So far, An Post has signed a deal with Londis Topshop and Londis ADM to carry the pay-point technology.

The plan is to extend the network to include more retail chains and independent retailers in the near future.

Each PostPoint outlet is equipped with an electronic terminal, which processes mobile top-up transactions, bar-coded bill payments, magnetic swipe credit and debit card transactions and smartcard-based transactions. To date almost 3,000 shops have been fitted with PostPoint terminals for processing electronic mobile top up transactions.

An Post is now going to provide the full range of services to these outlets.

Household bills that can be paid via PostPoint include telephone, mobile phone, gas, cable, and local authority rents, using the bar-code payment cards issued by these utilities.

Within the next few weeks consumers will be able to pay the paper bill for these utilities at PostPoint as they become barcoded. Electronic top ups for Vodafone, O2, Meteor, and Swiftcall can be completed via the PostPoint terminal, which can also be used for normal purchases, where the consumer wishes to pay by debit or credit card. There is no cost for using the service, compared to direct debits, bank transfers or mailing payments. Consumers can also use the service to pay part of a bill at any time.

An Post has already introduced PostPoint in the United Kingdom and Spain, through the Ecommercell group. The company has more than 10,000 terminals up and running in British and Spanish shops. PostPoint promises to be an easy-to-use, efficient and cost-effective service, as long as it doesn't cause queues at peak times.

It will confirm An Post as the market leader in the Irish bill-payment market. The company expects to handle 20 million bill payments in 2002, 30 per cent more than in 2001.