Paying bills in Georgia (the country, as always) is almost a pleasure—and not just because it’s so cheap. It’s crazy easy here, unlike some countries I’ve been in where it can be a bit of a mission to figure out how to get someone to just take your money already. I don’t know for sure yet, but I’m pretty sure the intense user-friendliness of the process is because Georgians weren’t big on paying bills during their post-Soviet slump, so after the Rose Revolution when the government was trying to get everything in order they decided that they would make it so easy to pay bills that nobody would have an excuse for not doing it. That’s my theory, anyway—I’ll update it if I learn something different. Regardless, here’s how paying bills in Georgia (Tbilisi specifically, though I’d imagine it works similarly for any city) goes:
Option 1: Payment Kiosks
This is what I mean when I say you have no excuse to not pay bills here: you can find a bill payment machine on every other street corner in Tbilisi. They come in three languages (Georgian, English, and Russian), allow you to pay bills with cash (or card in some cases), and actually work crazy well. I used the popular USA2Georgia shipping service and when I couldn’t get my card to work on their site I just headed down to a terminal, entered their name in the search bar, and put some lari in the slot. My account was marked paid instantly.
They’re pretty simply laid-out, so you don’t really need a detailed user guide here. Just walk up, use the touchscreen to find what you need to pay, enter your account information from that company (a customer number, for example; you’ll need that), see what your bill is, and insert the requisite amount of cash. I don’t believe the terminals can make change—at least I overpaid once and the few extra lari were converted to credit on my account on the site that I overpaid.
You don’t need any bank account, any card, any ID—you just walk up and hit the buttons. It’s crazy easy and you can pay pretty much any bill, or even transfer cash to a private bank account (though I haven’t tried this yet).
A few notes:
- If you’re a foreign Bank of Georgia customer, apparently you can make deposits to your bank account at these machines. TBC allows this for Georgians, but not foreigners.
- I think the only way these machines allow card payments is via a Georgian bank card, and I think only Bank of Georgia lets foreigners do this.
- You’ll need all of the account numbers and info for the bills you want to pay; you can’t just enter an address and pay the water bill or something.
Option 2: Online banking
Basically, see the section on payment kiosks. Most of the automatic banking/bill payment machines in Tbilisi are run by the banks, so paying your bills through the online interface is going to end up looking pretty similar.
I’m not sure how it looks for Bank of Georgia, but for TBC you can simply find the option to “Add a Bill,” search for the name of the company you need to pay, input your customer number, and transfer money from your account. Easy as that.
Option 3: EPay.ge/TBCPay.ge
If you don’t have a Georgian bank account and you’re too lazy to go find a payment kiosk (seriously, you have to be pretty lazy; I pass an average of one every two minutes on the street), you still have options. Just check out Epay.ge (run by Bank of Georgia) or TBCPay.ge(guess which bank!). You can register, find your bills, and pay them even using an international card. It’s so freaking easy.
Option 4: Don’t pay, I guess?
Seriously? Up to you of course, but I hear Georgia is pretty strict about paying bills on time. You probably won’t get a warning before they disconnect whatever utility you missed paying for and they may add a late fee to get it reconnected. I don’t really know for sure, since I haven’t missed any payments (yet; fingers crossed).