Online bill payments in India by US based person

#1 Dec 27th, 2016, 20:47
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#1
I am a PIO/OCI based in the US. As my parents (located in India) grow older, it would be good to take some of the bill payment responsibilities from them. As such, I am interested in finding out how I could pay some of their bills (e.g. phone, internet, electricity) in India from the US.

Not totally sure of the options but was thinking of
- Opening a NRE account and paying from there
- Getting a paytm account - but funding it from the US might be an issue
- Using my parents' debit card

Any advice / pointers would be very helpful. Thank you very much in advance!
#2 Dec 27th, 2016, 21:11
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#2
All options feasibility depend on what you are comfortable with. NRE account is best if you want a direct payment route or something more than paying bills. You could use companies like remit2india.com for bill payments if that is the only requirement.
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#3 Dec 27th, 2016, 21:35
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#3
Thank you!

These are recurring bills that I want to relieve my parents of. So, I'm most motivated to do something that's going to be the easiest to live with for the long haul. I am not familiar with the how the bill pay services in India work. But I am hoping that NRE bank account might allow for the easier process over the long haul.

I will look at remit2India site. If they can automatically deduct from my US bank account and easily pay recurring bills, that'd be better (as more bank accounts isn't something I need)...
#4 Dec 27th, 2016, 22:09
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I looked at remit2india. It is good in that it avoids having a second ATM account. The bad part is that it has no easy bill pay component. I definitely need that for it to work...
#5 Dec 27th, 2016, 22:12
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#5
An option could be to do an auto debit from parent's account and you deposit a substantial amount in their account once in 6 months or so.
#6 Dec 27th, 2016, 22:24
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The parents have sufficient money. They are simply not tech savvy and are afraid of anything other than manual transactions and passbook entries sort of banking. I am trying to overcome their resistance to the whole idea by not doing auto-pay from their account... But - it is good to know that auto-debit is a possibility... Not totally sure if their billers (BSNL Uttarakhand, Uttarakhand Power Corporation, etc.) do auto-deductions. If so, can do them from a NRE account too...
#7 Dec 27th, 2016, 23:47
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#7
Check if Billdesk could help.
#8 Dec 28th, 2016, 00:42
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I was going to say billjunction.com but they don't seem to be on in Haridwar judging from this page https://www.billjunction.com/NewBJ/billers.jsp Have been using them for many years, long before banks started online bill payment stuff. Good.

The easiest would be if your parents bank is able pay all these bills online and then you can login and do the actual payments (or setup automatic payment). It is possible, usually, to add the bills that you want to pay and the bank will notify you on email when these bills arrive. You will have to get your parents to authorise online banking first, can give your email id there so you can pay. Or maybe paying bills does not require online banking authorisation at their bank- ask.

Once done, you can pay any bill from anywhere. No need to open any other account.
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#9 Dec 28th, 2016, 01:02
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#9
Set up a resident account in either of your parents name. Keep only a low balance in it. Set it up for online banking. You can operate it from the US.

I would suggest that you should also open a NRE and a NRO account in your name as well.

Comes in quite handy and avoids currency exchange fees and fluctuations in the IOM exchange rates.
#10 Dec 28th, 2016, 07:23
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Thank you very much! I will look into Billjunction and billdesk. The hardest part is to get them to agree to internet access to their bank anytime. Maybe I can try to get them to open an account for this purpose alone.

Will look at opening the NRE account again. Living in the wonderful world of one single CMA account.
#11 Dec 29th, 2016, 16:22
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I checked out Billjunction. They don't cover Haridwar - and in Dehradun, the billers they cover are not that convincing... Will need to do it from the provide website directly...
#12 Aug 30th, 2017, 07:10
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#12
I agree with the previous suggestion that opening an NRO/NRE account might be the most convenient option as it would allow paying bills completely under OP's control. (Either directly from the bank account, or by using the account to fund a service like PayTM that can then pay the bill.)

However, one hitch that one must be prepared to deal with in operating any account at an Indian bank from outside India is that many kinds of transactions may require OTPs (one-time passwords) sent to an Indian mobile number associated with the account. This means either keeping a mobile phone with an Indian SIM active outside India, or calling someone in India to get the OTP at the time of the transaction.

In my experience, Indian banks' software generally does not work well with non-Indian mobile numbers for the text alerts and OTPs.
#13 Aug 30th, 2017, 14:00
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#13
I think there is no OTP if autopay is setup.
#14 Aug 30th, 2017, 20:29
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#14
For the record, I gave up on this endeavor. The OTP business was a hurdle. More importantly, My parents just didn't care for it and I got tired of the long explanations how very simple these tasks were and how the neighbors ask everyday (even happens to be true) if there is some chore like this needs to be done

They are set in their ways and movement is not possible. Every year, my parents go to visit a CA in our ancestral home town 2-3 hours away for the tax work. I suggested that they find someone closer, but that didn't go anywhere. My grandfather used the father of the CA they use as his accountant (who I am sure is quite old) and no change can be contemplated

The ATM card is a new development that they utilize rarely

But, they have a lot of support and goodwill in the colony and for good reason. They have done a lot of good things for a lot of people and the colony as a whole and still continue to.

They have more than earned the right to do it their way, so it's all good.
#15 Aug 31st, 2017, 08:06
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#15
A charming thread KM and a very valuable one as well for those of us who have links to India and sometimes need to send money there. My Paypal account no longer functions since they decided after all these years that I was a money launderer based on the small sums I sent there periodically. .

Side note is that China has amazingly changed over to cell phones skipping over card from cash. They are moving ahead fast..

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