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Bill Pay Choice from MBNA

Contributed by mm | February 5, 2004 3:12 PM PST

MBNA just refreshed its online payment service "Bill Pay Choice" by teaming up with CheckFree. When I logged onto my MBNA NetAccess today, I was asked to agree to new terms of the online payment service before I can pay off my MBNA credit card.

The new service allows customers to pay not only MBNA credit card bills, but almost any other bills, including utilities, other credit cards and mortgage. The service allows customers to pay MBNA credit card bills thru linked checking accounts, and to pay other bills thru either MBNA credit card or checking accounts.

In addition, if one pays at least 2 bills every month using MBNA credit card (or the only bill every month is paid by MBNA credit card), the service is free.

Too good to be true? And thinking of earning reward points simply by paying all bills thru MBNA? Here is the catch:

According to the FAQ, there are two types of merchants, in-network and out-of-network:

In-Network Credit Card Payment Transaction is a payment made through Bill Pay Choice using an MBNA issued credit card account as the Funding Account to a Payee that accepts credit cards as a means of payment through the Service. In-Network Credit Card Payment Transactions are treated as purchases in accordance with the terms of your MBNA credit card account agreement. As Purchases, these payment transactions will generally have all the normal dispute and charge back rights as outlined in your cardholder agreement and these payment transactions will generally be eligible to earn points in connection with certain MBNA rewards programs, subject to the applicable rewards program terms and conditions.

Out-of-Network Credit Card Payment Transactions is a payment made through Bill Pay Choice using an MBNA issued credit card account as the Funding Account to a Payee that does not accept credit cards as a means of payment through the Service. Out-of-Network Credit Card Payment Transactions are treated as Purchases, more specifically, Cash Equivalents, in accordance with the terms of your MBNA credit card account agreement. However, you do not have the right to dispute Out-of Network Credit Card Payment Transactions unless the dispute is based on the transaction not being processed in accordance with the Service terms and conditions. Furthermore, Out-of-Network Credit Card Payment transaction Purchases are not eligible to earn points in connection with any MBNA rewards programs.

And as you can imagine, most of the merchants (and all mortgage servicing companies and credit card companies) are in the out-of-network group, and no rewards will be available. Furthermore, this create additional profit for MBNA if the bill amount is not paid off in the next credit card billing cycle.

Actually, this service appears to be a customized version of MyCheckFree.com, which is also free (fees may apply when payment comes from credit cards).

This Post Has Received 3 Comments. Share Your Opinions Too.


Flexo Commented on February 6, 2004

How would this work in my scenario? Suppose I currently pay off my MBNA credit card bill through a linked checking account. This is currently free. With this new set-up, do I have to pay two bills a month using MBNA's online service in order to just continue paying my MBNA bill online for free? Do they now otherwise charge for paying your MBNA bill online?


mm Commented on February 6, 2004

Paying MBNA credit cards is always free. You can find this documented in the Bill Pay Choice FAQ (see last sentence):

When you enroll in Bill Pay Choice the 60-day free trial period allows you to pay as many bills as you would like with either your credit card or checking account. Take this opportunity to see how easy it is to use Bill Pay Choice to give you control over your finances and simplify your life! After the free 60-day trial period, you can still get the service at no charge if you use your Net Access registered credit card(s) to pay bills. If you want to pay some bills with your checking account(s), there is still no charge as long as you pay at least two additional bills in the same calendar month using your credit card. If you choose to pay bills using a U.S. checking or money market deposit account only, there will be a $0.75 charge for each transaction. These fees will appear on your credit card statement. Important Note: You can still pay your credit card accounts registered in Net Access with your checking or money market deposit account at no charge and these payments are excluded from the fee calculations below.


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