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Friday, September 3, 2021

Consumers want mobile-first bill pay, survey finds

A recent survey by PayNearMe reflects demand for faster, simpler and more personalized bill pay applications. The report, How Consumers Pay Bills: Expectations vs. Reality, based on a survey of 2,676 U.S. consumers, found widespread discontent with existing bill payment options and features, researchers found.

Anne Hay, head of consumer research at PayNearMe, pointed out that mobile and digital apps have simplified banking and payments, throwing arcane bill payment methods into sharp relief. "Today's e-commerce experiences are fast, easy and frictionless," she said in a statement. "For example, with technologies like facial recognition, consumers never have to login or remember a password to make a payment."

Steven Kramer, vice president, product at PayNearMe, agreed, emphasizing the need to make bill payments more personal. "To remove friction from bill pay, reach consumers where they live," he said. "For example, you wouldn't send an email reminder to Millennials and Gen Z consumers who live on their phones because they'll never see it."

Mobile-friendly

PayNearMe researchers noted that consumers have become acclimated to seamless ecommerce that companies like Amazon, Zappos and Wayfair provide. The rapidly evolving payments sphere has also introduced P2P platforms and cryptocurrency schemes such as Bitcoin and Ethereum. These next-generation platforms do not require consumers to remember passwords, account numbers or engage in complicated logins, they noted.

"The rate of payments innovation applies new pressure on companies to advance the way they accept payments to better meet consumer expectations," researchers wrote. "By first identifying current gaps, organizations can then take steps to make bill payment faster, easier and less stressful for their customers."

Researchers summarized the top five challenges in current bill payment methods as remembering logins, keeping track of due dates, navigating poorly designed biller sites, having to enter payment information and keeping track of amounts due at each billing cycle, citing the following concerns among respondents:

  • Push notifications: 38 percent would be receptive to having bills pushed to mobile wallets.

  • P2P platforms: 27 percent would use PayPal or Venmo for bill payments.

  • Mobile-friendly: 42 percent of consumers would likely use digital wallets to store, view and pay bills. 30 percent would pay bills via PayPal, Apple Pay or Google Pay.

  • Reminders: 25 percent of consumers feel disorganized managing and paying bills, leading to late and missed payments; 51 percent paid at least one bill late during the past 12 months.

Frictionless

Hay stated that 21 percent of survey respondents gave themselves a failing grade when it comes to remembering bill due dates; 41 percent find keeping track of due dates challenging, which means tens of millions of adults struggle to keep track of due dates. She suggested that making bill payment information more accessible across multiple challenges would alleviate these challenges and enable consumers to use their digital wallets to store, view and pay bills from a single access point.

Kramer advised organizations to introduce QR codes and mobile-friendly options to personalize the bill payments experience. The flip side of reaching consumers where they are is understanding where the friction lies, he stated. For example, some consumers prefer auto-pay and others who live paycheck to paycheck would not be comfortable with that option.

"Make sure you're getting the communication right," he said. "And set reminders where they live—whether it's an email or a text or a push to a wallet—where you can say, your bill is due in seven days; just click here to pay it." end of article

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