(Initially this was going to be posted at VentureBeat, but another writer beat me to it.)
In some magical fairy-tale world, beautiful women and handsome men laughingly pay gas company bills while watching fluffy pink unicorns dance through purple Alpine valleys. In the real world, giving your hard-earned money to the man sucks, especially when the process of paying bills is mind-numbingly complicated.
That’s the world Doxo is trying to fix, using your smartphone or tablet.
Launching today, the Doxo Mobile app for Android and iOS will include doxoPay, integrated bill-paying functionality that will allow users to see, manage, and pay bills, all while riding the bus back home from work.
Currently, it’s not so simple. As Jim Bruene, author of the NetBanker blog says: “Whether the bill is received digitally or in paper form, payment is often a three step process – read the bill when you receive it, open it again to pay it, and then file it somewhere else.” Doxo integrates the steps, simplifying users’ lives.
One challenge: the company you want to pay has to be set up in Doxo’s system. Today that list includes AT&T, Sprint, Kansas City Power and Light, 12 state and county governments, and many more, but it’s not clear exactly how many service providers have joined. To tempt more businesses into signing up, Doxo touts savings of 80% for sending paperless bills, and notes that consumers pay their bills an average of 10 days earlier when using the Doxo mobile app.
But it’s clear that for consumers, having all their bills in one system is going to be a much better value proposition than just having a few, or even most. This is the single greatest problem for Doxo if they want to scale this app to millions or hundreds of millions of users.
However, Doxo is taking the right tack with regard to a single, unified payment app. Other mobile payment solutions exist, but no consumer in their right mind is going to download multiple apps, one to pay each service provider.
One other benefit of the Jeff Bezos-backed payment company: a digital file cabinet integrated with Dropbox or Box in which users can store key documents such as insurance policies, important bills, and statements. Storing all the details of your financial life in one place has the potential to vastly increase manageability. As an aside, it also increases the need for extreme security.
In a statement, Doxo CEO Steve Shivers said: “The Doxo mission is to massively simplify the experience of interacting with providers and paying bills. The new capabilities of our mobile app make bill paying simpler than ever.”
One unanswered question: when will Doxo become an e-wallet that will not only allow users to manage and pay bills, but also make immediate, point-of-sale payments? Given the trajectory of the Doxo app, one has to assume it’s coming.
Now that almost might be worth dancing through purple Alpine meadows over.
Piggy bank and bill images via Shutterstock