Digit will help people pay their cellphone bills

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The financial health app provider Digit has added a feature to its app that automates phone-bill payments.

The new feature, Phone Bill Pay, lets users opt to have Digit automatically save little by little over the course of a month for their monthly cellphone bill, which Digit automatically pays.

CEO Ethan Bloch said the new feature meets a need strongly felt among Digit’s user base.

“About 40% of our customers miss paying a bill each month,” Bloch said. He knows this from surveys the company conducts twice a year. This finding jibes with surveys the Financial Health Network has conducted.

“This connects to our broader vision around helping someone pay all their bills on time the Digit way, where they are going to automatically allocate money throughout the month to make payments,” Bloch said.

The new tool is available to customers of AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile, Cricket and Metro. Digit’s partnership with BBVA enables the app to make payments directly to mobile providers on users’ behalf.

This is how it works: Users create a “Phone Bill” goal on Digit, then tell Digit which provider they use. The user adds the estimated bill amount, due date and account ID. If it looks like Digit cannot pay the bill in full, it will send what it can and remind the user when the rest is due.

Digit does not receive bill-presentment data from billers, so it cannot yet handle bills that vary month to month. It is working to add that ability down the road.

Bloch said the new feature is part of the company’s commitment to making financial health effortless.

It is an offshoot of Digit’s original offering: automated savings. The Digit app calculates how much money it could squirrel away on the customers' behalf without them having to make a conscious effort.

Last year, it added the ability to pay down credit card debt more quickly. In May, Digit rolled out an instant withdrawal tool, using real-time payments from JPMorgan Chase, that lets users avoid overdraft fees. In October, it launched a tool that helps customers make extra payments on their student loans.

“We want to wake up in a world where we can help our customers pay all of their bills on time and they're off living their life,” Bloch said. “And their money is organizing and orchestrating itself in a way that feels personalized and also helps the customer make progress.”

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