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7-Eleven furthers mobile convenience by uncapping bill-paying app

Convenience store chain 7-Eleven hopes to increase store traffic by rolling out the 7-Eleven Bill Pay application, which enables shoppers to pay cash to more than 17,000 local and national billers with a bar code scan at participating locations.

Seven-Eleven hopes the introduction of the Bill Pay app, powered by PayNearMe, will help its customers stay on top of their finances more easily, as they will be able to pay their bills in a secure manner in less than 60 seconds while picking up their food or household items. The chain has undertaken a surge in mobile activity in recent months as it aims to offer more purchasing options to smartphone users and subsequently become a leader in mobile retail.

“For the past decade, 7-Eleven has been a destination for the underbanked customer,” said Raja Doddala, vice president of innovation and omnichannel strategy at 7-Eleven, Dallas, TX. “Seven-Eleven and PayNearMe have had a partnership for over five years.

“PayNearMe is the world’s first, real-time, cash-payment network that allows cash customers to pay bills (such as utilities, cell phone, etc.) or purchase products and services,” he said. “Within the Bill Pay app, customers can store their bills in one place and make cash payments without filling out multiple forms or standing in long lines.

“They also can view payment history and set payment reminders. It’s a perfect fit for 7-Eleven in terms of offering more convenient solutions to our customers.”

Adding financial support
Seven-Eleven is the premier retailer to join forces with PayNearMe for a co-branded application. The app offers paying capabilities to the same 17,000 billers as the financial company’s original platform, but will be marketed specially by the convenience chain to its shoppers.

The brand believes that the app will not only augment 7-Eleven’s portfolio of services, but also result in its locations becoming “convenient” places in addition to convenience stores.

To use the solution, consumers must download the 7-Eleven Bill Pay app for their iOS or Android devices and create an account by adding a bill. The smartphone will then generate a unique bar code for each biller.

Once shopping in-store, customers can present their devices to the 7-Eleven cashier and inform him or her of the exact amount they wish to pay. Guests may then pay with cash and receive a receipt as proof of the transaction.

A convenience fee of approximately $1.99 will be applied for each payment. A majority of payments are posted to accounts within four days.

App users are able to maintain their payment history, set reminders and securely pay bills. PayNearMe’s range of billers includes utilities providers, insurance companies, cable firms and merchants such as Greyhound Lines.

PayNearMe hopes that by digitizing cash transactions, it can make it easier for consumers to pay bills on-time, while they are already completing errands such as purchasing items at a convenience store. The technology company posits that retailer can experience many advantages to leveraging its services, such as offering more value to shoppers, enticing new customers and increasing in-store traffic and consequently, sales.

Counting on commerce
Seven-Eleven will likely attract a slew of new customers with the introduction of its Bill Pay app. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, or FDIC, claims that 28 percent of households in the United States receive zero or limited access to bank accounts.

Therefore, consumers who prefer to pay via cash may use the app while shopping at 7-Eleven without having to use money orders or visit payment offices.

The convenience chain has been gearing up support for mobile commerce with an increased fervor these past few months.

In August, 7-Eleven added Passbook support to its app to drive mobile purchases by streamlining transactions and making it easier for users to participate in the retailer’s loyalty program (see story).

Several weeks ago, the brand furthered its commitment to using mobile as a means of convenience by partnering with on-demand delivery platform DoorDash to allow consumers in five major markets to order goods directly from their smartphones (see story).

“Seven-Eleven is in the business of offering convenience to our customers,” Mr. Doddala said. “Throughout history, the definition of convenience has changed, and we have adapted as our customers evolve.

“Today, digital and mobile commerce define convenience, and 7-Eleven is committed to expanding its value proposition to remain relevant to customers.”

Final Take
Alex Samuely, editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York