PayNearMe program offers convenient way to pay one’s bills

A program that went into effect about one year ago that enables parents to make child support payments at certain retail outlets appears to be working well in Detroit, although Upper Peninsula parents haven’t availed themselves to the opportunity — yet.

It’s called PayNearMe. It was launched in August at about 550 Family Dollar stores and 7-Eleven stores across the state. There are several Family Dollar outlets in the U.P.

It expanded in March to include 250 CVS Pharmacy locations, according to The Detroit News. The program is national, offering payments at more than 25,000 selected retail outlets.

To date, more than $1.6 million in child support payments have received through the service, which functions through the internet and costs $1.99 per transaction. The program is also used for utility payments, an official with Family Dollar stores in the U.P., told The Mining Journal. No child support payments have been received locally, however, the official said.

According to information from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, 6,200 payments have been made totaling $1.6 million overall.

“We recognize it can be difficult to get to the courthouse to make a payment, or folks don’t want to make a special trip. Some parents prefer to pay in cash rather than check, credit card or online,” Erin Frisch, director of the state’s Office of Child Support, told the News. “Offering the option to pay child support in cash at retail locations gives parents more choice in how they make their payments, and helps us reach our goal of being where our families are.”

It’s hard to find a downside to this program. It offers an inexpensive — and convenient — way to handle child support and other obligations, sans a trip to the courthouse. We’d only recommend that a bit more effort be invested in educating U.P. residents on its availability.