About Bill Pay

👍

Notice

This guide is in a preliminary state. Some of the details may be incorrect, and we will be updating them as needed. Contact Galileo to report any errors or omissions.

This guide explains bill pay at Galileo. With bill pay your customers can send funds from their accounts directly to a U.S.-based individual or service provider.

Biller-direct vs. consolidated bill pay

Account holders typically have monthly expenses with a variety of entities such as utilities, landlords and loan creditors. These billers often use the biller-direct system to collect payments, where the biller informs the account holder via email or text message that a bill is due, and the account holder logs into that biller’s system to pay the bill. This system is somewhat convenient for the account holder because it provides quick access to pay bills and pay them on time. In this system, the biller maintains control of the payment process, which improves cash flow for the biller, and time spent on disputes is typically lower. However, users must maintain separate accounts for each biller on each site, which can become burdensome.

In contrast, Galileo offers a consolidated billpay system, meaning that account holders can see and pay all of their bills on a single web page. Having a billpay function on your site drives engagement with your account holders and increases loyalty to your program.

Account holder experience

When your account holders want to pay a bill, their experience can be as simple as this:

  1. Go to your billpay interface.
  2. Select a biller.
  3. Enter the amount of the bill.
  4. Click Send.

Later that day, the billing amount is deducted from the account, and depending on how the biller is set up, the payment arrives at the biller within 1–10 days. If the desired biller is not already present on your interface, the account holder can create that biller, and at the same time, set up recurring payments that can continue for up to five years in the future.

Biller types

In the Galileo system, there are two types of billers: electronic and paper. Electronic billers are integrated with Mastercard RPPS. Paper checks are conventional checks. Bill pay is not an ACH system. For a comparison of the two systems, see ACH vs. bill pay in the ACH at Galileo guide.

Electronic

Mastercard RPPS is a large electronic biller directory, used by the majority of consumer and treasury banks in the U.S. The RPPS has ~40,000 billers in its directory, and Mastercard manages the transfer of funds to the biller.

Galileo checks for pending RPPS transactions in your core four times per day, every day (including weekends and holidays), compiles the billpay transactions into a file, and sends the file to Mastercard. According to the arrangements the biller has made with Mastercard, the payment is sent to the biller's bank, where it is deposited in the biller's account.

Paper check

Paper checks for bill pay are printed every business day. Requests made up to midnight Galileo system time are included in the morning check run on the next business day.

The checks are issued by Bank of America and are void after 180 days. Because checks are not issued until after the check amount has been withdrawn from the customer account, the checks do not bounce. Checks can be mailed to U.S. addresses only.

📘

Note

Galileo classifies transactions in one of four categories: authorization/settlement (card transactions), payment, adjustment or fee, as described in Classifying transactions in the About Transactions guide. Bill "payments" are actually adjustments in the Galileo system, because the funds move out of the account holder's account.

Decisions to make

To set up bill pay in your program, ask Galileo for assistance. The first part of the process includes coordination between your program manager, your bank, and Galileo.

When setting up billpay for your program, you will need to make these decisions:

  • How to design your billpay interface. You will need to provide:
    • A control to add billers
    • A place for a list of added billers
    • A control to make a payment
    • A way to display past bill payments per biller
    • A way to display future bill payments per biller
    • An edit function for billers and recurring payments
    • A way to cancel a pending payment
    • A way to delete billers
  • The maximum amount allowed per bill payment. The default is $25,000, but you can set a different limit.
  • Whether to charge fees for bill payments. You can charge for these events:
    • Electronic transaction
    • Paper check transaction
    • Check cancellation
  • Whether to allow recurring billpay transactions to use overdraft funds.
  • Whether to defer fees when there are sufficient funds for the bill payment but not the fee.
  • Which Events API webhooks to receive.
  • If you are the system of record for your accounts, you should decide whether to approve scheduled billpay transaction using the External Trans API. If not, you must devise a way to synchronize your balances with Galileo so that Galileo always has an account's true balance.

Billpay process

The basic billpay process proceeds as follows:

  1. The account holder adds the biller, either paper or electronic.
  2. The account holder creates a billpay transaction, either one-time or scheduled.
  3. On the transaction's process date, Galileo adjusts the amount from the account.
  4. Galileo further processes the transaction:
    • Electronic biller — Galileo compiles all the electronic transactions into one file and sends it to Mastercard, four times per day.
    • Paper biller — Galileo prints the checks on the next business day and mails them.
  5. The biller receives either the electronic payment or the paper check.

Billpay FAQ

  • Q — When is the billpay amount removed from the account?

    • A — On the same day that the transaction is initiated, within 30 minutes, whether it was initiated with the Program API or the scheduler. This applies to both electronic and paper transactions.
  • Q — How soon after a successful billpay API call will the transaction be available in Get Account Overview?

    • A — Internal processes pick up the transaction, and within 15 minutes or so after the amount is adjusted from the account, it is available in Get Account Overview and other transaction-retrieval endpoints.
  • Q — What happens if there are insufficient funds for a billpay transaction? Is there a retry?

    • A — There is no retry. Galileo sends a notification, and you can pass that notification to the account holder, who can add funds to the account and initiate a new transaction.
  • Q — What if there are sufficient funds for the bill payment but not for the fee? Can we defer the fee?

    • A — Yes, you can set the BPPPF parameter to allow fee deferral. The fee is charged as soon as there are sufficient funds in the account.
  • Q — How do we know that a bill payment has been successful?

    • A — For electronic bills, Mastercard sends Galileo notification only when the payment fails or is rejected; successful payments get no notification. For paper checks, Galileo sends an event message when Galileo receives the cashed check from the bank.
  • Q — An account holder calls and says that their biller did not receive payment. What can we provide to the account holder?

  • Q — How do we get check images?

    • A — There is no API endpoint to return a check image.
  • Q — If a check is lost in the mail, what do we do?

    • A — Cancel the check, and then initiate another check payment. You may need to wait until after the check amount is returned to the account before initiating another, which happens after 1–3 days.
  • Q — When we create an RPPS biller, does it validate biller account numbers?

    • A — Not individual account numbers; however, the endpoint validates the account number format for the biller.
  • Q — Are BPCM: billpay_check_mailed and BPCC: billpay_check_cleared events only for paper billers?

    • A — Yes
  • Q — When we remove a biller using the Remove Biller endpoint, does it also delete all the scheduled transactions assigned to it?

    • A — No, we do not check the client biller record status to stop the scheduled transactions. Instead, use a Modify X Biller endpoint to cancel them.