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Doxo, a Jeff Bezos-backed bill-payment service, lands AT&T deal

November 3, 2011 | 10:55 pm

Doxo dashboard screenshots

Seattle-based Doxo wants to be your digital filing cabinet -- where you pay your bills and get any other sort of documentation from businesses online via web browser or mobile app.

And the company, which names Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos among its investors, recently inked a deal with AT&T to make use of the company's digital bill and documentation services which it believes will help its cause.

AT&T, the nation's second largest wireless carrier, has more than 100 million customers in the U.S., and of course Doxo sees each of them as potential customers. The company has raised more than $15-million in investor funds to date.

"It's great validation of what we're doing," said Steve Shivers, Doxo's CEO, in an interview. "We opened up Doxo to the public from a private beta on July 1. And we've seen very, very healthy growth. We have Sprint on board, accepting payments through Doxo and we have multiple utilities, our first credit union, we'll have our first government customers, healthcare and insurance customers soon too."

But AT&T so far is the biggest company, by far, to integrate into Doxo's system.

Doxo operates not by allowing its users to pay with credit or debit cards, but by withdrawing funds directly from bank accounts. The direct bank account withdrawal allows the company, its users and its integrated businesses -- such as AT&T and Sprint -- to avoid credit and debit transaction fees.

That, Shivers says, is the key as to why Doxo is a better route to go than automatic bill pay options through banks or even online payment options from companies themselves.

"I look out there and I see a lot of companies that are collecting money, mailing bills and other documents on paper and statements and they still don't even have a decent website and they aren't even offering online payment options," Shivers said. "There are lots of other companies that, if they offer online services, they're still sending a lot of valuable documents by mail. And if people go that route, they're going to have to set up a credit card or bank account with each business, and if they ever get a new credit card or switch banks, they have to go to the website of each individual business and change all the information for each autopay account."

"With Doxo, you never have to do that again. You can just change your payment information in one place and it keeps all your payments going with no interruptions."

Shivers said that Doxo can cut a business' mailing and collections cost by about 80% for each user who signs up for Doxo. On Thursday, the company also rolled out a new feature to its service that allows users to set limits on how much they pay automatically. If a bill is higher than a user's set limit, they get an alert to take a look at the bill before approving its payment or not.

Doxo makes its money when a user pays its bills through the service by collecting a fee from the business paid. Shivers wouldn't say just how much its fees are, how many users it has or how many businesses it has integrated into Doxo, but he did say that its user base is up more than 300% since opening to the public about four months ago.

However, the CEO did admit that the idea of having a person's bills coming into one place is a concept a bit foreign to many people.

"It still sometimes astounds me, the sort of 'no duh' complexity that can be eliminated by turning the payment concept around and focusing on the customer rather than the business," he said. "But I see that changing, and with every business like AT&T that we get signed up with Doxo, we can go to other businesses and say: 'Hey, your customers are probably also customers of this business or this business or this one. And Doxo will be easier for your customers, if they want to use it, and it will save you money.'

"There is a real network effect to what we're doing."

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Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz unveils new company, Asana

-- Nathan Olivarez-Giles

twitter.com/nateog

Image: Doxo dashboard screenshots. Credit: Doxo

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