Bill Payment Trends: Major Shifts in Consumer Behavior Require Comprehensive Planning

Paying by check, over the phone, directly from a bank account and over the Internet make it incredibly easy for consumers to take care of their monthly bills. At the same time, this convenience increases the complexity and cost for businesses to process these different types of payments. And it’s only going to get more complicated as several major payment trends emerge—including prepaid, mobile and kiosk payments.

For nearly every business, the simple act of collecting payments from consumers is actually quite complex. Organizations want to make it easy and convenient for customers to pay, so they offer multiple choices of payment types and channels. Customers can mail a check, phone in a credit card number, pay in person with cash, directly debit a bank account and more. However, making it easy for the consumer often makes it more complex—and costly—for the business.

To further complicate the situation, there are several major trends that are changing the face of consumer bill payment. For example, a full two-thirds of all bills are expected to be paid electronically by 2012—up 20 percent from 2007—with most of the growth destined for Web and phone applications.

This kind of seismic shift in customer behavior will have a significant impact on your company’s payment processing operations and will necessitate careful planning to properly address.

This paper reviews five current and predicted bill payment trends for the next five years and discusses some of the key planning parameters your company should consider to best prepare for and benefit from the changing payment landscape.