Customers want more flexible and convenient options for paying bills. A new study from leading financial services provider Fiserv, Inc., shows an evolution in bill payment behavior and opportunities for businesses to accept credit cards on their website, through e-mail invoicing, and automated recurring billing.
The 2011 Billing Household Survey showed how consumers are using multiple channels (online, telephone, mail and mobile) to pay their bills, with nearly 20 percent of consumers changing their payment technique every month.
According to the findings, consumers indicated that choice is incredibly important when it comes to paying bills, mostly because of timing, convenience and available funds.The most common option people chose was paying bills online, followed by check and recurring billing.
“This year’s Billing Household survey demonstrates that consumers are looking to their banks and billers for multiple billing and payment options that are quick and easy, and can change to meet household needs and expectations,” said Jardon Bouska, division president, Biller Solutions, Fiserv. “Billing and payment is not just about the transaction; it is a recurring strategic opportunity for companies to deepen customer relationships and reduce costs.”
Electronic billing has also seen major growth in popularity, as a third of consumers who pay bills at banking websites receive online invoices, and a record 38 percent who do not receive electronic bills from banks indicated that they wish they did. Twenty-two percent of consumers also expressed interest in receiving online invoices from all their billers – up from 17 percent in 2010.
Another noteworthy statistic is how consumers are increasingly paying through multiple channels, with 59 percent of customers writing checks, 59 percent using direct billing websites, 53 percent using recurring billing and 38 percent paying their bills through online banking billing services. When paying bills online, a quarter of online households use both direct billing and banking websites.
Frequent change was another element, as 20 percent of households changes the way they pay bills every month. The top two reasons for changing were the availability of funds (63 percent) and billing due dates (54 percent).
Flexibility was a major factor that seemed to determine how efficient billers were at meeting demands that are constantly changing. The benefits of higher flexibility included higher customer loyalty and reduced cost.
The third annual Billing Household Survey analyzed answers about online payment processing from 2,500 adult consumers who maintain responsibility for paying the household bills.