Learn about the trends shaping top companies’ payment-acceptance strategies.
Consumers are opting into paperless eBilling in record numbers, but some customers are still hesitant to get on board with the new trend. To overcome their objections, companies must first understand what customers love about online bill payments — and what factors give them pause.
Based on consumer habits, the following trends are projected for 2012:
Another strategy to nudge paper lovers toward eBilling is to design convenient services that make online bill payment easier than sending a check in the mail. For example, companies might consider adopting a push eBilling strategy rather than a pull strategy to combat enrollment apathy.
The majority of online consumers are willing to give up paper for electronic bills and statements. Yet, some customers want hard copies of their bills for recordkeeping purposes. Companies can address the needs of this group by reminding them eBills can be easily printed for filing purposes. For customers who keep digital records, eBilling provides an added benefit because they can simply save the eBill to their electronic records.
Rather than asking a customer to visit a business’s website to view and pay their bill, the push plan allows customers to receive their bills via email as an encrypted attachment, along with a secure method to pay. Sixty-six percent more customers would prefer to receive their bill as an email attachment, rather than just receiving a link to an online bill payment portal.[ii] Also, companies who use this method average 12 to 15 percent paper turn-off per year.3
Converting customers to eBilling will help businesses reduce costs associated with mailing paper bills and staffing live customer service representatives. But it’s also a great way to get customers to pay their bills more quickly.
In the fourth quarter of 2011 there was a slight uptick over the previous quarter in late bill payments in many categories, including student loans and childcare.[iii]
By using eBilling, one company was able to reduce the number of “days sales outstanding” — the time it takes a company to collect revenue on a sale — to just 11 days, down from 44 days with paper bills.3
While eBilling adoption rates are different for every company, the data is clear: Customers want to pay online, and when th
[ii] “Consumer Bill Presentment Preferences,” Striata
[iii] “The Western Union® Payments Q4 2011 Money Mindset Index,” January 2012, conducted by Javelin Strategy & Research