In today’s world of Uber, Amazon and Apple, the payment experience has forever changed. Accustomed to new payment innovations, customers now expect nearly invisible bill pay experience flows. Bill pay must be fast, convenient and frictionless.
Too often, however, the bill payment experience is plagued by common mistakes that can be costly, particularly as they relate to customers paying bills late and making excessive calls to customer support. Here are three common bill pay experience mistakes and recommendations for fixing them:
Mistake #1: Too many barriers to complete a task
We’ve all done it — searched through our phones or computers for a login and password to access an account. Finally, we give up and click “forgot password” and go through the process of resetting the password so we can log in to pay a bill. In a single word, this can be described as: frustrating.
PayNearMe’s recent bill payment study validates this experience not only stresses people out, but it also deters them from making timely bill payments. Here are the top three barriers cited in the study:
- Remembering logins, passwords and account numbers (52%)
- Navigating poorly designed company websites (30%)
- Having to manually enter payment information (26%)
Companies can increase on-time bill payments by leveraging modern payments technology to remove these barriers and improve their customers’ bill pay experience. For example, when companies embed personalized links in bill payment reminders, customers are taken directly to their payment screen to pay their bill in as few as two taps on their mobile device.
This technology allows customers to pay their recurring bills right from their phone or computer with their preferred payment type – whether that be debit card, ACH or mobile methods such as Apple Pay and Google Pay. They no longer need to mail checks, call a customer service agent to pay over the phone, visit a brick-and-mortar location to pay in-person or log in to a website to pay online.
Mobile methods such as Apple Pay and Google Pay also allow customers to bypass entering certain personal information and instantly make payments with a biometrically secured tap on their smartphones.
Personalized QR codes are another way businesses are removing bill pay barriers. QR codes coupled with personalized links enable paper bill customers to scan the QR code with their smartphone and pay online with their preferred tender type — without needing to log in or enter an account number or their payment information. For cash payers, there are services that allow paper statements to be printed with personalized barcodes that enable customers to pay their bills with cash at retailers they often shop at – such as 7-Eleven and Walmart stores. The customer simply visits a participating store, has the cashier scan the barcode and pays their bill with cash.
Mistake #2: Failing to use technology to improve the bill pay experience
From data entry mistakes to language barriers, countless problems can occur during the bill pay process that delay customer payments. When companies leverage modern payments technology, they can prevent errors and reduce support calls. Here are three examples:
Problem: Customer manually enters incorrect data during the bill pay process
Solution: Use custom fields with auto-populated information to prevent those errors
Problem: Frequent customer service calls related to making principal-only payments
Solution: Enable customers to enter the principal-only amount directly on the payment screen to reduce the need for personal assistance
Problem: Millions of people in the U.S. speak a language other than English
Solution: Display information in their language of choice
Mistake #3: Overlooking the importance of automated bill payment reminders
More than 1 in 5 adults (21%) give themselves either a poor (“D”) or failing (“F”) grade when it comes to remembering bill due dates, according to the previously mentioned study. Unfortunately, forgetfulness leads to late bill payments.
The good news: customers want to receive bill payment reminders. In fact, 45% of customers say receiving a text message or an email reminding them when a bill is due would make it easier for them to pay bills on time.
With the right payments platform, companies can send automated payment reminders at predetermined points in the bill pay cycle, such as two weeks before the bill is due, two days prior to the due date, and when the bill payment is one day past due. These reminder messages can easily be segmented by audience. For example, send earlier and more frequent notifications to customers with a history of delinquency or send messages in Spanish to those who indicate that preference.
Likewise, when customers store their bill in a digital wallet, payment reminder push notifications remind them when their bill is due, and the payment is convenient and frictionless because they can pay their bill using mobile-friendly payment methods stored in their digital wallet. According to the bill payment study, if given the opportunity, 42% of consumers would be likely or very likely to use their digital wallet to store, view and pay their bills from a single place.
It’s time to make the bill payment experience as simple as paying for an Uber. That starts with identifying and fixing common mistakes that may be plaguing the bill pay experience. Remember, the only real mistakes are the ones businesses fail to fix.