No one likes paying bills, but since we must, one startup is making it easier.
An app called Papaya says it can help you pay nearly any bill just by taking a picture of it.
Follow Rich DeMuro on Instagram for more tech news, reviews and cool stuff.
“It could be a parking ticket, a health care bill, could be a utility bill,” said Patrick Kann, CEO and co-founder of the App. Kann is originally from Brazil and was surprised to learn that few people in the United States pay their bills with their phones. It’s about three percent.
“We wanted to create the most compassionate way for people to pay their bills…and not having to go to individual websites or calling in,” explained Kann.
The app is very simple. You just take a picture of a bill, and it gathers all the information it needs to pay it electronically.
“We developed computer vision technology that extracts all the data from a bill and also we developed a number of payment automation mechanisms so that any and every bill is paid instantly,” said Kann.
Papaya isn’t an app for racking up extra reward points. How you can pay a bill depends on the biller and what they accept. It can be a bank account, debit or credit card. Either way, there are no extra fees tacked on top. Papaya says it makes money by taking a cut of interchange fees.
Since Papaya has “seen” so many bills, it knows how to pay many of them. But there are some cases where it might need to send a paper check, which could take longer.
In my demo, we used a medical bill that Papaya generated. After snapping a picture of the bill, Papaya recognized the name and account number. Importantly, especially for medical bills, the app lets you make partial payments.
As for privacy, Papaya says all user data and payment methods are stored securely.
“In some cases, we use the bill image just to improve our computer vision software… so some of our engineers may have access to some parts of the bill so that our technology is improved over time,” said Kann.