Feedback Wanted: Replace All Your Bills with One Regular Payment - Billsmoov

Hi All

My name is Justin Roberts and I am currently launching a new start up called billsmoov (https://billsmoov.com.au). The basic premise of the service is that we want to pay all our users bills for them - that is energy, mobile, internet, insurance, rates, car rego etc - and replace all of those bills with one smoothed regular payment. For example if you had $12k worth of bills a year, instead of having to pay all your bills individually and deal with cash flow variability, you would pay us one $1k payment every month. Bill shock/variability is an issue for a lot of aussies and we are trying to do something to solve it. We also want to make recommendations about where you might be able to save money either pay changing usage or providers.

We are currently in beta mode and testing the value proposition with new users. I would love to get any feedback from potential users about whether they see value in the solution and/or if there is anything else you think we might be missing. I appreciate any and all feedback.

Justin

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billsmoov.com.au
billsmoov.com.au

Comments

  • Good idea and keep going !! Personally, I always wanted a service that consolidates all the bills in one place. TBH, I would be happy to pay $10 per month to outsource this task and also without spamming provide suggestion to move to better provider !! However, i think you need to build a solid reputation around data privacy. Wishing you guys all the best and will keep an eye as your move into GA.

    • Thanks for the kind words and feedback. I completely understand we have no reputation and agree this is probably the most important thing we need to work on.

  • I doubt the market you are trying to attract is here at OzB. How are you going to attract and find that audience?

    You may be charging zero fees to the customer, but you'll need revenue for advertising, cyber security, etc

    I also don't understand how it'll work for a bill that is paid annually… eg if I pay an annual bill of $12000, do you negotiate with that company so that I pay $1000 per month? My income protection/life insurance policies/car/house insurance all are due in January and are paid annually - it means I have a huge credit card bill to start every year.

    By paying over 12 months am I essentially getting a free line of credit from you?

  • I already do this. Budget a year forecast into weekly/monthly payments. Might work for others that can't do some simple calcs.

    • Thanks for the feedback. Understand this is not for everyone and while I agree the calcs are relatively simple it requires forward planning and sufficient cash flow. For a lot of households this may not be the case and that is who we are trying to help. Thanks again for your comments

  • 1) If I have been paying 1k a month but my actual bills at year end came out to be 11k in total will you refund the 1k ?
    2) Bills may or may not increase year on year e.g. higher/lower electric rates. How will you factor those in.

    • Yes, there is an adjustment factor every period based on what the actual bills are. You will be able to see your net position at any time (i.e. how much you are in credit or debit) and if you leave at any time you either pay out or receive back the difference.

  • +2

    Good on you for starting something. All the best.

    Personally I use Up Banks auto transfer feature to manage my bills by automatically taking out a small amount of my pay to a seperate savings account which adds up over time to the amount I need to pay when the bill is due.

    I do that for my large, expected bills like rego, Insurance, school fees etc. Saves on the shock and the money is ready to go when the bill is due.

    But this could be a good idea for people who don't have that option.

    • Thanks for the kind words

  • You have received a lot of feedback. This service is not for me. Like a hawk, I like to stay on top of my bills.
    A few contributions from my side: Bill smoothing is one thing but there are service providers (eg councils) who provide early payment discounts - how will you make sure these discounts are passed on to customers?

    A lucrative and possibly unexplored market would be the elderly. If I was taking care of a relly who isn't in a cared facility, I would happily sign up for a service such as yours. But it also has to be simple enough for the elderly who don't have anyone caring for them - or have a dedicated team who can be kind, patient and guide them every step of the way. Will probably have to do it only once anyway.

    When BNPL came out, I scratched my head thinking this model is sure to fail - what is it that they offer that credit cards today dont. But I think I overestimated the general intelligence of humanity, a large portion of which wants to be spoon-fed everything. I find it hard to believe that there is still a section of people who will need to be told and facilitated to "Pay $100 in 4 installments". In jest, I used to think there will be a time where the next generation would proudly wear a business shirt and claim "fully paid off mate!". Sadly, this might come true sooner rather than later.

    Good luck. I hope you offer a bargain for the ozb community which has dissected your proposition in almost all possible ways (did someone talk about your IT security and how your own servers holding all this data should be highly secured) and offered insights.

    Edit: Once you get going with a sizeable number of customers, I am guessing you can also negotiate better rates for your customers? Eg., offer a power company a customer base of say 10,000 customers and get an amazeballs discount on power rates? Then you can simply switch over all your customers to them.

  • Guess kind of novated lease model where all costs bundled into one payment, can see why some people would say ok and some most against (including me).

    If the margin is providing wholesale prices, why not just be a wholesale provider of services up front? Signing up for a energy provider is less scary than what is proposed, then have option to add phone, internet, insurances etc.. a la carte.

    Saying you will take over people's financial lives to a complete unknown group is very hard sell. Whereas say you will provide cheap power, insurances is more palatable and a way to build trust with consumers.

  • +1

    Do you have any plans to expand your integration to adult streaming services, OnlyFans, AWS, My Muscle Chef and CatLadyBox?

    • -1

      We do have plans to help manage subscription servies like netflix, spotify etc and the problems caused with direct debit when a card gets cancelled

  • I wonder how you will aggregate the bills unless you make it possible to forward you what to pay where. There are so many ways people receive their bills, and it is impossible for you to integrate all providers, and if you integrate only handful it is useless to pay only a few bills through your product.

    Not to mention if you go with the approach where people just forward you what to pay where it will create a lot of mistakes, and it will require a lot of manual work.

    So I am not worried about potential customers but rather execution.

  • People don't want to pay lump sum.. Paying $1k+ for a monthly bill can seem pretty shocking. Can split it to weekly or even daily payments if it helps.$33 per day sounds far more manageable than a $1k monthly bill
    If you still wanna do monthly or fortnightly, make it happen on the pay day or even better, get it straight from payslip so people don't 'see' the big cost and feel it on their pockets

  • +2

    sounds like a solution looking for a problem

    reminds me of when I was a TAFE IT teacher and a day-release prisoner came to my class and told me he had a great idea that was gonna make him rich

    when I asked him for details, it was functionality already easily and widely available for free on the internet

    he didn't want to hear that - surely, I've spent so much time thinking about this - it must work … ?

    successful startups often start very small (home/garage) - individual orders, individual delivery, to test demand, and only if/when they suddenly get lots of orders, do they know they have a viable opportunity

    fail fast and early, keep testing/changing quickly until you find your demand - the story of Atlassian I believe.

    starting with your 'great idea' before anyone has tested market demand - is the road to a WOFTAM

    here's a startup I heard of recently that I thought might have legs - something that would enable you to get your refund quicker when you return online order deliveries - the other day I returned some wrong size shoes I thought amazing with total cost to me AU$20 for shipping and return from London to Sydney and back to London.

    If it takes a few weeks for the UK company to refund my $47 (discount shoe price) versus get it now with this new service with no apparent cost, I reckon a lot would want that. The only fee I saw them mention was if you took too long to return it they'd charge you $10, and if there was a refusal (returned dirty or such) they'd reverse your previous instant refund. They quoted a company saying it would totally work with them to facilitate more orders so they were onboard with it.

  • You should have called it BPay

  • Will your app be able to take a photo of a bill, prepopulate all the Bpay details, and save a copy of the bill on your account?

    Everyone can use direct debit already, but with a lot of banks, the system is very clunky and frustrating to use, especially for older people who aren't computer savvy. That is where I see your potential market - make it easier to do online transactions, and save receipts

  • For that it's worth I'll never consider using something like this and I genuinely believe that it adds absolutely no value whatsoever. And as an added disincentive there are some serious privacy concerns.

  • +1

    What makes this better than opening a sub-account with your existing bank and setting your own scheduled debit into it every week and having your bills come from that sub-account?

    • Its a fair point. We basically take the hassle of your hands. We automate the process you mentioned but add additional benefits. 1. All your bills are in one easy to find place. 2. We compare your bills to people like you, so you can see if you are paying too much and why 3. we can make recommendations to switch. I appreciate your feedback

  • When there's issues such as overcharging by utilities due to errors, disputes or continued charging after service termination, contractual disputes, etc, will you advocate on behalf of the individual or the service provider? Who is liable for the charges, billsmoov or the customer? If it's billsmoov will you then pursue the customer for the disputed debt? How does billmoov fit into the picture with customer agreements/contracts with the service providers/utilities? Do you become a party to the contract?

    • We will flag if there are errors on the bills. Users will still receive their bills to their email and in their app. They can view and dispute bills as they would ordinarily and request billsmoov does not pay a particular bill until an issue is resolved. If there is no contact from the user we will pay all bills before their due date. Essentially we will give the users as much or as little control as they want

  • Sounds reasonable, and there is plenty of money to be made in such schemes, see afterpay etc.

  • You can do most of what Billsmoov does by creating a transaction account that all your direct debits and scheduled BPays come from and paying a portion of your salary every pay to this account.

    The only advantage is Billsmoov will allow accounts to go in to debt? Risky, can you make enough money to cover the risk?

  • +2
    1. This is the wrong audience for this app

    2. This already exists and is called MyBudget. They pay all your bills for you, for a substantial fee. They are doing quite well I believe.

    3. This is also very similar to how investment property managers pay all the bills for properties directly from the rent via a trust account. They charge 5-10% of the rent for this service though.

    4. There is no way to make money without charging users. The admin burden of paying 5-10 bills per user per quarter is going to be far more expensive than the $50 commission you get if/when they switch providers. Margins are getting tighter and tighter in utilities because people know to shop around now - we're not in the 90s anymore.

    5. You will be destroyed by banks pretty quickly if you get anywhere. Already banks are implementing prediction algos with the option to move funds to a separate 'pocket' on payday to cover predicted bills.

  • In theory I like the idea, and would be keen to check out a beta.

    • Thanks for the feedback. Much appreciated.

  • Hey OP,

    There is a market for it, but you'll need more features to justify it.

    I recently came across a similar yet more advanced concept that's currently in the US.

    They even help negotiate the customer's bill for them.

    https://www.truebill.com/

    Good luck.

    • Thanks for sending this through. We absolutely plan to offer additional service just as you mentioned. We want to be a true financial personal assistand

  • Hi OP,

    I think this is a great idea that if executed properly would certainly a lot of people with the cashflow issues you are intending to address. I don’t have too much to add that hasn’t been raised but here are my personal thoughts (apologies if there is doubling up).

    • Would your service advocate on the customers’ behalf with any billing issues? Telstra comes to mind as a company who love to overcharge / charge for two services instead of one, and hours are spent trying to resolve this. If your company were to offer a $/month subscription model for your services, this is definitely something I would love to outsource to an external company,.
    • Notification system alerting customers once bill has been paid so the customer has an opportunity to log-in to the system (e.g. Telstra account, utilities account, etc.) and confirm the outstanding balance has been paid.
    • The risk of your company disappearing and I’m left with unpaid bills is pretty high…how will the finances be structured so that customers have higher priority in the event of insolvency?
    • Ability to upload bills with only the payment stub at the bottom which usually only includes payment information. That way extra information such as exact usage info, addresses, etc.. can be hidden. The only information really required to pay bills is the account and reference #, and the outstanding amount.
  • There is definately people who value there time differently to alot who use this site.
    If they don't need to spend time paying these bills often and getting a good deal then.
    There is a market for this.

    Do you have insurance lined up? Let's say someone contracts you, your system for whatever reason doesn't pay there house insurance and there is a claim needed. Are you set up for that liability?

    How would you handle changing phone providers, internet access etc, if you found a better deal signed up for X amount of time and the service was no good.?

    • We will definitely take out insurance for such a situation that you mentioned. However, with the providers we directly partner with there actually won't be a situation where the bill is "not paid". We are building the necessary safeguards to ensure our users are protected

  • It’s good for those are busy and need it, but needs failsafes and safeguards built in

    • Yes absolutely need safeguards which we are working on.

  • +2

    I've read all your responses, you seem to be only taking on the positive feedback. This is a dumb, moronic business idea that will fail. The very premise requires a large number of customers so you can negotiate deals, but the market even in only one state is too diverse.

    Let's consider the most basic bill - electricity. There are four distributors in Vic, they won't negotiate with you. There are hundreds of retailers - they might offer you a tiny reduction, but the market changes so quickly, so frequently, you are committing your customers to a disadvantageous scheme by locking them in to one or two retailers. Then consider all the alternate options of batteries, solar, etc. and everyone's unique solar installation circumstances….

    Very ignorant.

    • Thanks for the feedback. I am definitely not only taking on the positive feedback I have responded to a number of negative posts where there is an opportunity to address an area of concern from a user point of view. Regarding whether the business is a good idea from a commercial perspective, the only person I need to convince is myself. I appreciate you taking the time to provide your opinion

  • Would we be able to have multiple bill holders sign up to one shared account?

    E.g., spouses, direct family members or cared persons?

    Would make things a lot easier for some families if you could…

  • how is this different than a creditcard with a 0% fee on balance transfers?

    I get the points there too.

  • I would rather pay all my bills separately, than see 1 extra large one.

    Easier to trend and graph what my month to month spend per bill as well.

  • Interesting idea. I think there is value for the service.
    It is not clear on how much premium you need to pay? Is it just $10 extra per month?

    As individual one could argue that there aren't that many bills to pay manually as most are direct debits anyways. So, all is automated but you do need to track invoices separately if you need to.

    This can be valuable if you have investment properties or run as business. Essentially becomes like accounting service and give all your bills in one go. If you can have enhance your management app to allow to add other bills, then this can be like a version of xero and useful.

    However for $10 a month, if could appeal to lot of general people who don't want the hassle.

    When you go live, it would be good to have a social/charity aspect where you should work with relevant social enterprise to help with day to day logistics for people in need. Significant number of people are homeless because they can do these basic day to day life things and pay bills on time. Service like this would go long way.

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