Evolve devolves (developing story…)

46

I’ve written a few times before about the online service Evolve Money (see, for example: “Pay bills online with debit and prepaid cards”).  Evolve has been a great service for paying bills with debit cards (including Visa and MasterCard gift cards) that can’t usually be paid with a credit card.  In the past few days, though, I’ve heard from numerous readers and friends that have received unpleasant emails from Evolve.  The messages come in two forms: 1) You are banned from paying this biller due to volume processed; and 2) You are limited to 4 payments per month.  Here are sample emails…

You are banned from paying this biller:

Good morning,

This email is to inform you that your account with this biller at Evolve Money has been closed due to the volume processed.  We are unable to allow future payments to this account.  We regret any inconvenience this causes, but hope that you will continue to pay other billers that are available to you through Evolve Money.

Thank you,

Evolve Support

Limit 4 per month:

Good afternoon,

This email is to inform you that your account with this biller at Evolve Money has been suspended due to the volume processed, there is now a 4 payment limit on this account per month.  We are unable to allow future payments to this account until July 1, 2014.  Please be advised that future attempts to make a payment to this account prior to this date will result in an authorization hold of funds on your attempted payment method.  We regret any inconvenience this causes, but hope that you will continue to pay other billers that are available to you through Evolve Money.

Thank you,

Evolve Support

At least Evolve delivers this news in a friendly way: “Good afternoon,” “Thank you”…

Word from Evolve

Through multiple channels I’ve requested official word from Evolve Money about these changes, but have yet to hear back. I did talk with an Evolve Support employee, though, who gave me the following information:

  • They do have new rules in place in order to prevent fraud.
  • The primary new rule is: you may only make up to 4 payments to one biller per month (presumably calendar month since some emails reference July 1 as the date that they may resume payments)
  • As always, each payment can be no more than $999

There was no word from this employee about whether people who were banned from a biller altogether have any recourse to get that option reinstated.

Limit to 4 payments

The four payment rule appears to be in place for all users, not just those who received emails (I’ll post an update if I hear otherwise).  I believe that this means, the following:

  • For each unique account that you pay via Evolve (such as a car loan, for example), you can make no more than 4 separate payments per calendar month.
  • Even if you and your spouse have separate Evolve accounts, no more than 4 payments per month can be made to the same biller account (e.g. to that same car loan). 
  • If you have multiple accounts with one biller, you may make up to 4 payments per account.  For example, if you own two homes and have mortgages on each with the same bank, you can make a total of 8 payments per month to that bank: 4 to each mortgage.

Payment size is limited to $999, or the balance on your gift card, whichever is lower

  • If you have $200 Visa gift cards, for example, then each payment made with these gift cards can be no more than $200.  There is no way to split tender and make a single payment with multiple gift cards.
  • If you pay with a debit card that has a balance over $999, you are still limited to Evolve’s $999 per payment limit.

Summary

It appears that Evolve Money has added a new limitation to their service: no more than 4 payments per month can be made to each biller account.  Unfortunately, it looks like many people who exceeded this limit (which they were not aware of) have been completely banned from paying that biller anymore through Evolve.  I’m still hopeful that Evolve will back off a bit and give those users a chance to comply with the new rules going forward.  We’ll see.  I’ll update soon with more information if/when it becomes available.

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