The underbanked have traditionally been under-served when facing short-term cash flow crunches. Under-served is actually an under-statement! The choices are not just limited — they're often prohibitively expensive and inconvenient. APRs at payday loan centers can easily initiate an unstoppable debt spiral for many consumers.
Meanwhile, recurring billers like utility and cable companies have tightened up on grace periods. Consumers hit by unexpected expenses face the prospect of service cut-off, heavy late fees from their biller, or overdraft fees.
With backing from PayPal and VC firm Venrock, a team of San Francisco-based entrepreneurs have joined to offer relief to consumers with BillFloat — offering "more time to pay" any recurring bill. Financial bumps in the road can now be navigated easily with a bill extension of up to 30 days. That's usually the time needed by the consumer to catch up with a paycheck or two.
BillFloat offers this service in partnership with thousands of billers across the country. By clicking the 'Extend My Bill' button on their biller's payments portal, the consumer is invited to complete a simple online form. Using a multi-tiered and innovative decisioning engine, BillFloat accepts or declines the consumer's request in real time.
Once accepted and verified, BillFloat pays the consumer's bill, and later debits the amount owed by the consumer plus BillFloat's service fee from the consumer's bank account.
Ryan Gilbert is CEO of BillFloat Inc., a PayPal-backed bill payments provider offering cash-strapped consumers "more time to pay" recurring bills.