Integrating bill information and the ability to pay
Most consumers want to pay their bills on time, but lack of information and time consuming payment processes can stymie them. Bills are commonly received via post, and in a small percentage of cases, via e-mail. People are not in a position to make payment immediately, as it is not always convenient – they either need to go into a store or use Internet banking.
For many people, bills are paid on a Saturday morning at the end of the month, which necessitates a taxi ride and 30 minutes in a queue. If an emergency arises, people can miss their one opportunity in the month to pay.
That’s why it makes sense for retailers and other corporates to leverage mobile technology for bill presentment and remote payment solutions. Consumer-savvy organisations are taking note of how these solutions allow customers to view and pay their bills quickly, conveniently and securely, while accelerating the business’s receivables cycle.
Addressing the information gap
Using POCiT’s mobile presentment and payment solution, customers receive all the information they need to make a payment in one mini-statement delivered on their cellphone. They are able to pay immediately, via their cellphone using POCiT, irrespective of who they bank with and who their cellphone network is. Imagine the scenario, Mrs Ndlovu is notified via SMS or MMS that she needs to pay Mr Price R100, by 30 May. She immediately accesses POCiT on her cellphone to view her bill details and authorise payment form her bank account. POCiT then collects the money from the payer’s account and settles the merchant. Mrs Ndlovu doesn’t have to remember any bill information or even her bank account details once she’s added it. All this takes less than five minutes – no more taxi rides, queues, or risk of missing a payment.
Making it simpler and more convenient for consumers to pay increases the likelihood of early and on time payments. Money therefore comes in quicker, improving cash flow and driving up interest on cash in the bank.
Research conducted by POCiT during a retail pilot project showed that 90% of customers surveyed felt that having their bills presented to them on their cellphones was most convenient, with 92% saying that they’d use the service again. Bearing in mind how many people have cellphones in South Africa, this can significantly reduce the complexity of bill payments for consumers.
Mobile bill presentment and payment gives your company a better chance of being paid first and on time by putting the bill top of mind for the consumer. Collection cycles are considerably shortened, as POCiT increases the probability of consumers paying your bill before they run out of money. Further, customers who receive their bills well in advance of the payment due date are also able to better manage their budgets because they have immediate access to account information.
But there’s one more long-term benefit: by making life easier for customers, you increase the affinity that people have with your brand. Billers do not always realise how a difficult payment experience – such as having to travel far, stand in a long queue, or make a payment that is later lost in the system – can have a significant impact on the way a brand is perceived. Simplifying payment means that consumers’ experience of your business can be a positive one from the moment a purchase is made to the time when it’s paid for at month-end.
Bottom line: mobile bill presentment and payment means more money faster for companies, coupled with great convenience for consumers who are becoming increasingly comfortable with mobile technology, with many viewing it as an integral part of their lifestyles.
By David Reynders, managing director of POCiT