In the early 2000s the advent of electronic invoicing and billing started to change the way customers thought about paying and the way business thought about accepting payments.

Since then, electronic invoicing, billing, online payments, and ecommerce small business have undergone a rapid transformation from a niche, “nice to have” option to a mainstream necessity that requires the modern business owner to be flexible in the way they accept payments.

According to Fiserv’s “2016 Billing Household Survey: Insights on Consumer Billing and Payment Speed, Security and Satisfaction,” consumers adjust the method they use to make payments to suit their needs with nearly 21 million changing how they pay bills from one month to the next. Online browsing and shopping continues to grow in popularity, with many businesses taking advantage of online stores to reach a broader audience to market and sell their products and services. Additionally, mobile bill pay plays a big part in this online transacting trend with the same Fiserv survey finding a 22 percent increase in the number of online households that reported paying a monthly bill through their mobile phone.

So, what does this mean for your business? Well, now that your customer base is paying more bills online than ever, it’s time to consider the advantages of using electronic payments to sell your products and services.

4 Advantages of Electronic Invoicing and Billing for Your Customers

1. Convenience: Offering your customers a variety of payment types and the option of paying online gives them the freedom to choose when, where and how they pay.

2. Control of finances: Many consumers utilize the option of online payments to pay all their bills in one convenient sitting or to get last minute bills paid on-time. With electronic invoicing, not only do they not have to mail the check, but customers can digitally monitor their banking activity.

3. Email reminders: Avoiding late payments and fees is easier when a reminder is sent out on or near the due date of a payment. Offering a “Pay Now” link streamlines the billing process even more.

4. Payment flexibility: Cash, check or charge? As with brick-and-mortar retail stores, customers want and need options that best fit their financial needs. Utilizing debit, credit and ACH payment options makes paying bills online as easy as paying for your morning coffee.

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4 Advantages of Electronic Invoicing and Billing for You:

1. Instant and secure delivery of invoices: No more waiting around for invoices to go out in the mail, hoping for checks from the postman, or waiting in line at the bank to deposit the day’s checks. You can securely deliver electronic invoices directly to your customer’s email inbox with the click of a button.

2. Less time spent processing invoices: Electronic invoicing allows you to distribute multiple invoices in a fraction of the time it would take to create and send one paper invoice. That means less paper cuts.

3. Cost reduction: Postage rates can pile up and envelopes don’t grow on trees. Free is better! Cutting these costs can be one of the biggest advantages of electronic invoicing.

4. Ease of storing soft vs. hard copies of invoices: Automatic reminders and electronic invoices leave a readily accessible “paper” trail that is easy for both you and your customers to reference. This means less clutter to make a mess around the workplace and no filing needed. Think how organized you’ll be!

With more and more customers going online to find a payment solution that works for their needs, electronic invoicing and billing is a great tool for your business that provides your customers a seamless and enjoyable billing process.

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Editor’s note: A version of this post was originally published in August 2011, it has been updated for accurateness and completeness.