Fiserv Expands CheckFreePay Network for Walk-In Bill Payments

Fiserv a global provider of payments and financial services technology, has announced a strategic partnership with Blackhawk Network (BHN) to expand access to walk-in bill payment services.

This collaboration will enable consumers to pay their household bills, rent, and top up digital accounts using cash at over 60,000 locations nationwide, according to a Fiserv press release on Thursday (Oct. 19).

The largest processor of walk-in bill payments in the U.S., Fiserv plans to double the size of its existing CheckFreePay network by incorporating more than 30,000 retailers that offer gift cards through BHN, the release said. These retailers include big box stores, national grocery chains, specialty retailers, post offices and pharmacies.

Brett Narlinger, head of global commerce at Blackhawk Network, said, “By working with Fiserv, we’re able to help meet this need by offering easily accessible bill payment options at grocery stores and other locations where people are already shopping for everyday items. Retailers also stand to benefit from increased foot traffic.”

To make payments at a BHN retail network location, consumers must present a scannable barcode from their printed bill or downloadable via a smartphone, which includes the bill payment details. This information will be transmitted through the BHN gift card platform to Fiserv, facilitating the delivery of the payment to the biller. The BHN agent will provide customers with a receipt confirming the payment.

Brian Seemann, SVP of biller solutions at Fiserv, said, “By partnering with BHN, we will be able to provide a much wider network of payment locations to cash-preferred consumers.  The use of digital barcode technology will allow for an expedited payment experience.”

PYMNTS wrote that merchants are now offering discounts for paying for cash as a way to avoid credit card transaction fees. 

The Wall Street Journal reported Sunday (Oct. 15), citing data from the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, that the share of cash purchases that included discounts jumped 66% between 2015 and 2022. 

Kevin Foster, who directed the survey for the Atlanta Fed, said that mom-and-pop operations were more likely to push customers to use cash than chain stores or corporations.