Digit expands bill-pay automation


Personal finance app Digit is growing its bill payment automation capabilities with a new feature that pays users’ phone bills. The platform already allows for scheduled payments for credit cards and student loans.

“Bills are an incredible pain point and stressor; we saw as this is a key [problem] that Digit is hoping to solve,” said Eric Brownrout, a product manager at Digit.

Digit hopes this offering will help its customers manage their money better. The bill-payment feature, along with other payment automation capabilities, are included in the $5 monthly subscription fee. Digit joins a group of startups and banks seeking to automate the payment experience, including Wealthfront, Qapital and banks like Ally and RBC.

Digit uses BBVA USAs Open Platform, a banking-as- service platform, through which the bank’s APIs are allowing Digit to pull funds from customers’ bank accounts. Customers then can deposit those funds in a pooled savings account managed by BBVA to pay bills or return funds to third-party bank accounts, as desired. Digit used Open Platform to help create its phone bill payment tool. The bank and app set up payment rails, allowing customers to make payments to their phone providers.

See also: ‘If we can’t automate it, we don’t build it’: Wealthfront’s Andy Rachleff on ‘self-driving money’

Founded in 2015, Digit was one of the first financial apps to allow users to save money through an algorithm. As other startups and banks launch similar services, the pressure is on for Digit to stay relevant to its user base. For Digit, this means fine-tuning its automation capabilities with different tools, including phone bill payments.

Digit founder Ethan Bloch recently told Bank Innovation that Digit’s vision is based on a future when each dollar of an individual’s paycheck is immediately allocated to a predetermined purpose, a message markedly similar to other platform startups, including Wealthfront, Betterment and Qapital.

“As we continue to look out and think about our roadmap and what we’re trying to do, the end state is really a place where, when money enters [customers’ lives], every dollar goes where it should go, when it should go there,” Bloch said.

The phone bill payment feature was tested in beta for several months before its launch. During that phase of development, Digit noticed that users said they sometimes forgot to pay their phone bills and often worried about having enough money at the end of the month for them.

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