MyCheckFree Bill Pay Service
MyCheckFree is a free bill pay service originally created by a company called CheckFree that was acquired by Fiserv in 2008. The MyCheckFree service was originally built to provide a way for big billers to have a place to send their customers to receive e-bills (electronic bills) and to make bill payments. It’s a handy service for consumers, because it allows you to get lots of bills in a single place…kind of a one stop shop for electronic bill payments.
Enrollment is fairly easy, as you use an email address for a login id and you provide your zip code as part of the sign up process. The thing that is kind of interesting and unique about MyCheckFree is that once you enroll, the service uses your zip code and presents a list of likely billers in your area. It derives this list from looking at other MyCheckFree subscribers who share your same zip code and who are currently paying bills at MyCheckFree, and makes the assumption that if they are paying biller A then perhaps biller A might be someone that you also need to pay. Pretty smart stuff, really.
The list of billers available to pay on MyCheckFree is pretty substantial, and numbers in the hundreds. When you pay using this service, you are agreeing to allow the biller to send you an e-bill instead of a mailed paper bill. As you go through the setup process to sign up with each of the billers who you want to pay, you provide a biller account number (this can be found on one of your existing paper bills), and a few other pieces of data that the biller requires to positively identify you in their billing system. Some of the data that they ask for is a bit strange, like your birth date, but Fiserv is a reputable company who has been in the financial services business for a long time so I would not be hesitant to provide the information to them that they are asking for.
Once the biller receives your enrollment request, they typically begin sending you e-bills during your next billing cycle. You’ll receive an email notification whenever a new bill arrives, and you simply login to the MyCheckFree website to make a payment. The first time you make a payment at MyCheckFree, you have to provide to them the routing transit number and the bank account number that you want to use to make payments. The routing transit and account numbers are the numbers that appear on the bottom left hand corner of your paper checks provided by your banking institution.
There is a payment activity link at MyCheckFree where you can see a history of the e-bills that you have received and the electronic payments that you have made.
MyCheckFree also offers a service that allows you to send and receive money to individuals, simply by using the receipient’s name and email address or mobile phone number. Presumably, the cash is sent directly from your bank account to theirs. If you are familiar with PayPal, this is a similar service to that. However, it’s really not clear from the MyCheckFree website exactly how to make these payments, as they only provide some basic instructions via a menu item called Pay People but don’t seem to provide any type of link to this particular service, which they call ZashPay. The instructions state that you make a payment using MyCheckFree.com, and then allow 3 days after the payment has processed for them to setup your account. A quick search of Google does turn up a completely separate website for a service called ZashPay, also presumably offered by Fiserv. How the two services are actually linked together is a bit of a mystery and not at all clear.
Finally, MyCheckFree also offers the ability to make emergency payments to a number of billers who mostly appear to be utility companies like water, electrical, and gas companies. These billers often charge a fee for these emergency payments, and are typically helpful to consumers if you are behind in your payments to one of these biller and are at risk of your service being disconnected. You can access the list of billers who can receive last minute payments through a menu item called Emergency Payments.