- Drugstore company Walgreens and payments technology provider PayNearMe said in a press release Wednesday that they would join together to offer bill payments services for the store chain's customers. That means that consumers will be able to pay their bills in cash at about 9,000 Walgreens stores.
- The companies began to roll out the new Walgreens service last month, a spokesperson said. PayNearMe makes its services available in partnership with bank technology company Green Dot. They also teamed to provide cash bill payment services at the big retailer Walmart last year. Over the past year, PayNearMe says it has expanded its retail footprint by about 50%.
- "With Walgreens in our retail network, our clients can now offer their cash-preferred customers even more convenience by allowing them to pay their bills in the same location where they shop," PayNearMe Chief Revenue Officer Michael Kaplan said in the statement.
Retailers are adding the new bill payment services as they seek to become a consumer destination for financial services and as a bevy of financial technology companies scramble to profit from new payment channels across an increasingly digitized payments ecosystem.
The PayNearMe network is expanding as ways to make bill payments are proliferating with the help of new financial technology companies, including Santa Clara, California-based PayNearMe and Austin, Texas-based Green Dot. PayNearMe has been building its network for years, making its services available at thousands of 7-Eleven stores back in 2015.
The cash payment options have increased as there becomes more recognition of the fact that many people living in the U.S. are part of the unbanked or underbanked population that eschews traditional banking services, either because they've been stung by high fees or because they don't trust those institutions, or both.
Even municipalities are seeking ways to help their residents pay more bills with cash. For instance, kiosk vendor and software provider CityBase is teaming with cities across the country to install kiosks where residents can pay their bills in cash.
The new services also can be more efficient for retailers. Walmart customers already have the ability to make cash payments to their billers in-store, but the retailer typically needs account and biller information. "With us, they scan, pay and go," a PayNearMe executive said in an interview last year. "That is a much shorter transaction for Walmart."
In addition to now serving the Deerfield, Illinois-based Walgreens chain, PayNearMe has also offered cash payment services through other major retailers, including Family Dollar stores, and Casey’s General Stores, among others.