6 Key Features to look for in EBPP Solutions

Electronic bill presentment and payment solutions

Offering electronic bill presentment solutions and online and mobile payment options is an increasingly smart investment for companies in a variety of industries, from utilities and insurance to mortgage servicing and auto financing.

Not only are more consumers paying these bills online, but they rate biller websites as their top preferred electronic payment channel. Biller websites ranked No. 1 for one-time payments with 35% of consumers while 39% made them their first choice for recurring payments, according to the 2H 2023 ACI Speedpay Pulse Survey.

But billers cannot afford to kick back and coast with their existing electronic bill presentment and payment (EBPP) systems. Three out of five consumers have run into problems or shortcomings using EBPP solutions, according to 2023 research by Regina Corso Consulting.

The issues include:

  • 23% couldn’t remember their username and/or password.
  • 17% wanted payment reminders but they weren’t offered.
  • 11% said their preferred payment method was not available.
  • 11% said they didn’t receive payment confirmation on the due date.
  • 9% objected to the lack of options for paying bills.
  • 7% found the overall payment experience was difficult.

These kinds of hurdles can cause consumers to abandon efforts to pay their bills digitally and inflict longer-term damage to cashflow, customer loyalty, repeat business and brand reputation.

Better EBPP Solutions = Better CX

Billing and payments are integral to overall customer experience, and improving CX is the top priority for 86% of 250 customer service leaders across industries, according to 2024 Gartner research. EBPP solutions that keep pace with payment changes and rising digital expectations can deliver the kinds of personalized customer experiences that keep people paying their bills, accelerating cashflow and revenue.

Serendipitously, meeting the growing demand for more customer-friendly electronic bill presentment solutions and digital and mobile payment channels also can provide important operating savings, efficiencies and productivity. That’s because cloud-based EBPP technologies drive digital transformation and automation of consumer billing and payment processes even as they reduce paper, printing and postal costs.

Six core features for EBPP solutions

With electronic bill presentment and payment options ranging from all the bells and whistles to basic, it’s critical to sort out the nice-to-have features from the must-haves. For example, it’s cutting-edge to accept cryptocurrency for payment, but that capability is not critical for most businesses.

Companies should look for EBPP systems with six core features that will enable them to cater to the personalized experiences consumers want now. The right EBPP solutions providers also will stay current with technology so companies can meet changing customer expectations and business conditions.

(1) Omnichannel
Offering choice in how consumers pay is a foundation of ensuring an excellent digital experience, but companies don’t need dozens of channels. In the second half of 2023, ACI Speedpay found the majority of consumers prefer digital payment channels, though more than one-quarter do not:

  • Websites– 48%
  • Mobile phones/smart devices—26%
  • Phone–11%
  • In-person–8%
  • Mail—8%

(2) Mobile optimized
Mobile payments continue to grow quickly, so it’s critical that companies ensure their payment portals are designed to be fully functional and easy to use with smartphones, smart watches and other mobile devices.

Companies also need to be savvy about how this channel is evolving so they can meet consumer expectations. Case in point: Growth in mobile wallet use, especially Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, and Google Pay. Nearly 4 out of 5, or 75%, of Gen Z consumers regularly use digital wallets, according to April 2024 research by PYMNTS Intelligence. Use increases as age drops: 26% of Boomers, 44% of Generation X, and 67% of millennials are fans.

(3) Payment choice
Most people use just a few methods to pay their monthly bills, with debit cards surpassing all others for one-time payments at 41%, with ACH/bank deductions at 25% and credit cards at 23%, according to 2H 2023 ACI Speedpay Pulse. For recurring bills, ACH beats out other methods at 38%, followed closely by debit cards at 32% and credit cards at 26%, the survey found.

Companies also may want to offer PayPal, which had 426 million accounts and 25 billion payments worldwide in 2023. It’s important to stay on top of payment methods and periodically evaluate if other options make sense for the organization and its customers, such as gift cards and Buy Now, Pay Later.

(4) Integrated
Consumers expect a consistent, seamless experience across company touchpoints, from customer service agents to websites to mailings. EBPP solutions that integrate and exchange information in real-time with CRM, call-center and other company systems as well as other customer communications and payments channels, including interactive voice response and print/mail billing enable better CX..

Some EPBB systems offer an integrated consumer communications and payments platform, simplifying managing and updating consumer preferences for text messaging, email and print/mail. This integration also streamlines payments, with electronic links to payment sites or prominently displayed website addresses and QR codes for payments.

In some cases, call-center reps can access account information from these platforms while on the phone with the consumer for expedited service and issue resolution. Integration streamlines the process and customer experiences.

(5) Self-service
Consumers want to manage their accounts online, not just pay bills. This requires a high degree of tech-driven personalization, including self-service capabilities for arranging automatic payments and payment plans.

A recent survey of auto buyers by market researcher Corporate Insights found most expect a range of digital and mobile self-service tools and communications throughout the loan term, including:

  • 79% expect electronic access to their loan/lease details
  • 72% want to view payment history online
  • 65% want the ability to set up payment alerts

(6) Secure
Given the rise and scope of data breaches, security is top of mind for consumers. Half of Boomers, 42% of Gen Xers and even 35% of millennials and 34% for Gen Z don’t prefer to paying bills online because of worries over the security of their information, according to the 2023 Regina Corso Consulting survey.

Security is not an area to skimp on. Companies need EBPP solutions that meet the strictest regulatory and compliance requirements including HIPAA, SOC2, SSAE 18, and PCI Level 1.

Optimizing digital-first payments

Consumers will default to the easiest and most convenient payment options. Of course, easy and convenient vary by person, so it’s critical to provide choice and flexibility.

Companies need to balance ease of use with security, and that’s a moving target. But if they want to encourage more digital and mobile payments, companies need secure, agile EBPP solutions that also reduce friction and steps in the consumer billing and payment process.

Please contact us to learn about Nordis Technologies’ leading EBPP capabilities.