Friday, December 9, 2011

Payments on the Move

By Michael Scheibach, Executive Editor, BankNews

New research from Fiserv reveals that consumers are using multiple channels for payments and, more significant, changing these channels as they go.

The 2011 Billing Household Survey found that nearly 20 percent of online consumer households change the way they pay bills every month. Moreover, the survey revealed that utilities, telecommunications providers and insurers are the top recipients of last-minute and one-time bill payments.

"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."

Other findings:
  • Consumers pay in multiple ways -- Consumers indicate it is important for billers to provide multiple payment options and many report changing the way they pay their bills month-to-month due to timing and funds availability. The study found a number of factors driving the demand for choice including the consumer's financial situations and changing technology. Paying bills online at biller or bank sites is most common followed by check and auto debit.
  • Mobile bill payments emerging -- Six million households paid at least one bill via smartphone in the past year. Billers need to pay greater attention to their mobile experience, as 30 percent of online consumers have visited a biller's site using their mobile web browser to access a monthly bill. The most popular bills paid by phone include phone, cable, credit card and utilities.
  • Biller sites popular, particularly for last minute and one-time payments -- Two thirds of consumers visit their billers' websites, with the majority doing so for billing and payment related activities. These sites are a first choice for consumers when making last minute and one-time payments.
  • Increasing interest in electronic bills (e-bills) -- Thirty two percent of consumers who pay bills at their bank site already receive e-bills and 38 percent of non-recipients are interested, an all-time high. In addition, the number of consumers interested in receiving e-bills at a biller's site increased to 22 percent versus 17 percent in 2010. 
Additional findings can be downloaded at