Billing Companies Seeing Growth

Fiserv, a financial tech player, released a survey whose results are not necessarily good news for printing and imaging companies. The survey had several interesting facts:

  • Those in the survey run the scale from financial services to utilities to insurance firms,
  • Of the 130 firms in the survey, more than half offer mobile bill payments,
  • Another 23 percent will be deploying mobile bill payments in the next 12 months (or less),
  • This is an increase of 40 percent year-over-year
  • Visits to billing company websites were up 42 percent.

Bill payment, bill views, followed by customer self-service were the tasks that companies reported that customers used when hitting their websites.

Last year, a Digitaltransactions.net article reported that “more than 90 percent of Americans still prefer to receive paper bills, but a strong majority of them pay electronically.” Even among the younger generation an average of 89 percent chose paper bills. The USPS Office of the Inspector General sponsored the survey.

Why would people have a preference for paper and still pay electronically? People like having physical mail as a record-keeping reminder to pay. Consumers don’t save money when they receive their bills electronically, but they do save money when they pay online.

Bottom line for both surveys shows that customer satisfaction is a key driver for companies that send bills. “Consumers want financial services that fit effortlessly into their lives…leading to a more engaged and satisfied customer,” said Fiserv. According to the USPS survey, “While over time more customers may opt to receive bills electronically, our research shows that physical mail still plays an important role today and will continue to do so in the near future.”

Americans like to receive paper bills as a reminder to pay, however, setting up auto bill pay would solve this dilemma. When you get down to it, bill delivery and bill payments have become a very important revenue generator for the USPS. In 2013 the revenue was approximately $18.5 billion (see Figure 1). Since more than a quarter or its revenues come through bill delivery and payment, the Postal Service is not specifically encouraging consumers to make the change to receiving and paying bills online.

Up to this time, the imaging industry has been able to depend on bill presentment and bill pay for revenue. Going forward with the increase of online and mobile bill presentment/payment the industry will have to seek other sources of growth.

Figure 1 - USPS Bill Presentment and Bill Payment Source: USPS
Figure 1 – Bill Presentment and Bill Payment    Source: USPS & Household Diary Study

 

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