Cash Payment Network Growing Fast in the U.S. and Expanding Overseas

by Mercator Advisory Group 0

PayNearMe, a company that signs up agent locations to provide e-payment services to cash users, has seen rapid growth recently.

PayNearMe last year set up a service with 6,200 7-11 convenience stores that enabled people to make electronic payments with cash through 7-11 stores. In other words, people can buy something on, for example, and pay with cash at 7-11 stores, and immediately get credit with that merchant. The service is growing fast–the cash that went through PayNearMe’s network was up 50% in April from March. The company has signed deals with 68 companies, 25 of which are live so far.

The idea of providing money services through a network of retailer locations is not new. Western Union and Money Gram have been operating in this business model for decades. As a matter of fact, accepting cash payments offline for online transaction is not new either. There have been some examples in international markets, as discussed in detail in Mercator’s report Spending Cash Online: Alternative Payment Channels for e-Commerce 2010. But at least in the U.S., PayNearMe is among the earlier movers.

PayNearMe offers a free prepaid card that can be used for different purchases such as buying greyhound tickets or Amazon gift cards. In addition, the company is trying to provide better integration with merchants’ systems.

In an integration with bill provider InfoSend, people can pay their utility bills using PayNearMe. (About 10% of utility bills are paid in cash or money order, Shader says.) InfoSend will add bar codes on bill statements that people can take to 7-11 stores and use to pay in cash.

In another integration with Ria Financial Services, a money-transfer company and subsidiary of Euronet Worldwide, people can transfer money to relatives overseas or pay bills with cash at 7-11 stores.

Finally, in a PayNearMe deal with Sochitel, people will be able to add cash to remote mobile bill accounts–”value remittance” or “top-up”–enabling people in the U.S. to pay for their family’s mobile bills overseas. Sochitel works with MTN Group, which is a major telecom provider in Africa and the Middle East.

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