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I get a ton of paper snail mail.  For the snail mail that comes to the office? It could be unavoidable since I'm the CEO of my company.  But for snail mail at my home, new services are being developed to reduce the amount of paper bills we receive.  A new web app called Manilla reduces paper bills by allowing you to pay bills through their site.  It's currently in the beta stage, but there are some invitations floating around on the internet (maybe you'll even find some through the links in this post!).  So, why is Manilla so great?

Different Bills in One Place

Manilla takes a variety of bills and puts them on one web site so you can pay and view the account history for all your bills in one convenient location.  On Manilla, you can pay your household bills (cable, telephone), subscriptions, finance, and you can even manage your travel rewards.  Local utility bills aren't on the site yet. As of now, only major companies' bills are supported on the site. But if a full Manilla app comes to fruition, we could very well see local bills, too.

Manilla Seeks to Get Rid of Paper Bills

Since Manilla is so focused on reducing paper bills, unconventional bills (bills that are normally paid online anyway) can't be added to your accounts at this point.  Hopefully if Manilla gets more popular, they will add these accounts as well. The unconventional bills probably are not included yet because Manilla's first priority is working with companies who are paying to send out paper bills.  Instead of sending paper bills, companies can provide Manilla the billing information and pay Manilla a fraction of the cost that it would take to send a paper bill, which is around 73 cents per document.  But unlike their competition, Manilla isn't dependent on companies being partners for users to pay their bills through Manilla.  Manilla can redirect the user to a company's site if they are not Manilla partners.  This allows more choices for the user and will probably prove to be a great advantage over the competition.

Makes Paying Bills More Attractive

User Interface (UI) that is not intuitive or attractive can cause a web app to fail.  Thus far, Manilla's UI looks very pleasing, which will probably result in more people using it and actually paying their bills on time.  Manilla is most useful if you check it often, though you can add reminders for certain accounts for when a payment is due.  This is especially helpful if you have accounts that don't fall on the first day of the month.  Also, Manilla organizes your account information in such a way that searching past payment history is a breeze.  No more digging through a file cabinet if you have to prove that you were overcharged on your phone plan.

Manilla sounds like an easy and convenient way to pay your bills online.  I also like that Manilla is actively reducing paper clutter in user's mailboxes.  Let me know if you've played around with the beta version!

Curt Finch is the CEO of Journyx.  Learn how to manage your work life at his PM Blog.

Last updated: Mar 29, 2011




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