We’ve frequently covered PayNearMe, an alternative payments product from the company formerly known as Kwedit, because its compelling services for the unbanked. The “unbanked” refers to consumers who don’t have traditional bank accounts or cannot qualify for credit cards. PayNearMe allows people who don’t have or don’t want to use credit or debit cards to purchase products with cash at more than 6,000 7-Eleven stores in the continental U.S. Today, PayNearMe is rolling out new functionality that allows users to pay bills, transfer money, pay utilities and even pay for a bus ticket using its payment option.
Here’s how PayNearMe works. On participating partners, e-commerce or merchant sites, consumers can use the PayNearMe option to pay for purchases or debts owed. You simply place your order with PayNearMe and print out the given receipt. You then take that receipt into a 7-Eleven and they scan it and you pay in cash. Once you pay, your order with the retailer or merchant will be fulfilled.
PayNearMe has partnered with 7-Eleven and money transfer company Ria to allow users to initiate money transfers or bill payments using their mobile phones and complete these transactions in real-time at a 7-Eleven store register. The process is based on a new, free Ria Card, available now at 7-Eleven stores and which can be used to pay more than 3,000 US billers. This card also can facilitate sending remittances to family and friends.
The startup’s technology also now allows billers to embed PayNearMe Barcodes directly into their customers’ paper statements. Customers to take their bills to a 7-Eleven store and pay the amount owed with cash at the register.
And PayNearMe has enlisted Greyhound bus as a customer, allowing the transportation company to sell and print tickets from the 7-Eleven point-of-sale terminals. Consumers who wish to pay for tickets with cash can visit a transportation provider’s website to book their travel. They then either print a PayNearMe slip or pick up a free PayNearMe Card from a local convenience store and follow the instructions on the Card. They bring that Slip or Card and their cash payment to the register where they receive a ticket printed directly on their receipt.
Clearly, PayNearMe, which just raised $16 million in new funding, is rapidly expanding the use-cases of its payments platform to help scale usage of the service. If PayNearMe continues to partner with popular merchants and payments locations, its product could take off. Green Dot made a viable business out of its pre-paid credit card business for the underbanked, recently taking the company public.