With $20M A round, Promise brings financial flexibility to outdated government and utility payment systems – ClearTips

With $20M A round, Promise brings financial flexibility to outdated government and utility payment systems – TechCrunch

The past year has been one of financial difficulties for Arabs, and among the specific difficulties is the initial one to pay for utilities, taxes and other government fees – systems for which easy or flexible payments are rarely arranged . The purpose of the promise is that people cannot handle it all at once by integrating with official payment systems and offering more forgiving terms for fees and loans, and have raised $ 20 million to do so.

When every penny is going towards rent and food, it can be difficult to raise cash to pay irregular bills like water or electricity. They are likely to close on less notice than a mobile plan, so it is safe to roll down the road … until some bills add up and suddenly a family is looking at unpaid bills of hundreds of dollars and There is no way to divide them or pay them over time. Also with tickets and other fees and fines.

CEO and co-founder of Promis, Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins explained that this is (among other places) where current systems come down. Unlike buying a TV or piece of furniture, where a one-click payment plan can be offered during online checkout, there is often no such option for municipal ticket payment sites or utilities.

“We have found that people struggling to pay their bills want to pay and if you offer them reminders, accessible payment options and flexibility, they will pay at higher rates. The system is the problem – they are not designed for people who do not always have a surplus of money in their bank accounts, ”she told TechChunch.

“She assumes, for example, that if someone makes their first payment on the 15th at 10 am, they will have the same amount by 10 pm on the 15th of the following month.” “These systems do not recognize that most people are struggling with their basic needs. Payments may need to be divided weekly or into multiple payment types. “

Even the plans it offers still see many failures to pay, at least partly due to a lack of flexibility on their part, Ellis-Lamkins said – failure to pay the entire plan. Can be canceled. Also, enrolling in the first place can be difficult.

“Some cities have payment plans, but you have to go in person to sign-up, complete a multiple-page form, show proof of income and meet restrictive criteria,” she said. “We are able to work with our partners to use self-certification to make the process easier to provide tax returns or other documentation. Currently, we have a more than 90% repayment rate. “

Promise acts as a kind of middleman, lightly integrating with agency or utility, which in turn makes anyone aware for money due to the possibility of different payment systems. This is similar to how you can view various payment options including installments while shopping at an online shop.

Mobile and computer screens showing payment interfaces with Option to make payments over time.

Image Credit: promise

The user enrolls in a payment plan (the service is mobile-friendly as it is the only form of Internet that a lot of people have) and Promise handles the end of it, with reminders, receipts and processing, allowing the agency to receive money. Passes on In – The company does not cover up-front costs and collects on its own terms. Essentially it is a flexible payment system that specializes in government agencies and other public-facing fee collectors.

Promise makes money through subscription fees (ie SaaS) and / or transaction fees, which also makes more sense for a given customer. As you can imagine, it makes more sense for the utility of paying more for a couple to collect $ 500, rather than to take a chance on any of that $ 500, or more Methods of resorting to heavy-handed and expensive debt collection.

Not that you think it’s not a big problem (and consequently not a huge market), Ellis-Lammkins cited a recent study by the California Water Board that the state has a total of $ 1 billion in water debt. Has 1.6 million people – an average of eight households owed $ 500.

Those numbers are likely worse than normal, given the financial pressures that have plagued the epidemic in almost all households – but in other circumstances, like payment schemes, many income types and types can avail themselves of such systems. Find reasons for And pretty much anyone who had to deal with a workable design utility payment site would welcome an option.

The new round raises the company’s total of more than $ 30 million soon after leaving Y Combinator in 2018, raising it by $ 10 million. The fund comes from existing investors Kapoor Capital, XYZ, Bronze, First Round, YC, Village and others.

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