ANAHEIM, Calif. – Free. No cost. No charge. On us. Help yourself. However you want to term it, Partners FCU here is doing something pretty much unheard of in the credit union industry – not charging any of its members for its online bill payment service. Most credit unions don’t charge members for Internet banking service, but do charge for bill pay. According to preliminary data from a soon to be released CUNA fee survey, the average CU charges a $5.16 monthly fee for members using online bill payment. Some credit unions do offer free bill pay as part of relationship pricing packages, however that is only for certain members who meet the criteria. Partners FCU is offering it free for all of its 31,000 members. “I haven’t really heard of anybody else doing it for free for everyone. We went through all the scenarios with bill pay vendors and found that we could pull it off through our relationships,” said Andrew Downin, director of marketing for Partners FCU, which by the way is the main CU for Disneyland cast members. The CU’s bill pay partner is Mid-Atlantic Corporate FCU, which is blazing quite a trail in the EBPP arena. It was the pioneering corporate in offering bill pay and just recently eclipsed the 158-client mark. When Mid-Atlantic launched bill pay service, it had a five-year business goal of 150-plus CUs. It has shattered that goal by reaching that mark in just two and a half years. Downin didn’t want to get specific on cost per member, but said that bill pay is probably costing the CU a couple of dollars per user per month. Right now about 3,000 of the CU’s members utilize its online banking system, and 300 of them are using bill pay, so the “free” aspect of bill pay won’t be a big hit for the CU. However, Downin said the CU is set to launch a marketing campaign to drive that number up. “We’re going to be marketing this in the Disney Land Line, which is the newsletter for all the cast members. There’s a marketing opportunity here. We’re going to try and get those members who don’t have checking accounts to sing up so they can take advantage of the free bill pay,” said Downin. Partners FCU utilizes Liberty/Cavion’s home banking solution, which is integrated with Mid-Atlantic’s bill pay piece. [email protected]

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