Some customers in McDowell who are used to going to local businesses so they can pay their utility bills might have to make other arrangements.
As of Friday, TIO Networks suspended its operations due to the discovery of security issues with that company’s data security program. TIO Networks, which was acquired by PayPal in July of this year, suspended operations to protect TIO’s customers.
“While we apologize for any inconvenience this suspension of services may cause, the security of TIO's systems and the protection of TIO's customers are our highest priorities,” reads the TIO website. “We are actively investigating this situation and working with appropriate authorities to safeguard TIO customers.”
What this means for people in McDowell County and all across the nation is they won’t be able to go to a local business that uses Global Express or other systems associated with TIO to pay their bills.
Bagwell Insurance Agency is one of those businesses. Owner Walt Bagwell said he and his employees came in Monday morning and found out they could no longer take payments for Duke Energy, Frontier, Charter Communications or other utility companies.
“We closed Friday and came in Monday and it was shut down,” he said Tuesday. “No notification.”
Since then, numerous customers have come in needing to pay their bills at his insurance office only to find out they could not do it there. This situation is nationwide.
“They are upset and they are concerned about how to pay it,” said Bagwell.
Other businesses in McDowell which accept payments through this system are likely in a similar situation. And there is no telling how long it will last.
“I’ve been given no time frame at all,” said Bagwell. “I don’t have a clue. I don’t think it’s going to be a few days.”
Fairview Corner Store on N.C. 226 South is in a similar situation. An employee, who asked not to be identified, said her business cannot take payments.
But Guy Walls, manager of Ideal Rentals on Rutherford Road, said his business can still take payments because it uses a different system.
The Marion Pack and Post is able to accept payments for Duke Energy and other utilities.
Owner Joey Rabon said he’s seen five or six customers come in to make their payments since Monday.
At the Marion Pack and Post, customers are charged $1.75 extra and that means your payment will be applied in three business days. For $2.50, it will be applied the next business day.
Duke Energy and other utilities will also accept payments through the mail, over the phone or online.