The last year has been one of financial hardship for billions, and among the specific hardships is the elementary one of paying for utilities, taxes and other government fees — the systems for which are rarely set up for easy or flexible payment. Promise aims to change that by integrating with official payment systems and offering more forgiving terms for fees and debts people can’t handle all at once, and has raised $20 million to do so.
When every penny is going toward rent and food, it can be hard to muster the cash to pay an irregular bill like water or electricity. They’re less likely to be shut off on short notice than a mobile plan, so it’s safer to kick the can down the road… until a few bills add up and suddenly a family is looking at hundreds of dollars of unpaid bills and no way to split them up or pay over time. Same with tickets and other fees and fines.
The CEO and co-founder of Promise, Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins, explained that this (among other places) is where current systems fall down. Unlike buying a TV or piece of furniture, where payment plans may be offered in a single click during online checkout, there frequently is no such option for municipal ticket payment sites or utilities.
“We have found that people struggling to pay their bills want to pay and will pay at extremely high rates if you offer them reminders, accessible payment options and flexibility. The (Read more…)