Chances are very good that the majority of your members have to pay a few monthly bills of some kind. Whether they are for a mortgage, an auto loan, credit cards, utilities or something else, they are notified about every 30 days or so to make another payment. While no one enjoys paying bills, it is a fact of life that every adult has accepted.
Advancements of technology have allowed many everyday tasks to become customizable. People enjoy the ability to perform even the most mundane tasks in a way that suits their lifestyle best. Bill pay is no different. Depending on the payee and the bill type, people have the option to send a check, make a credit card transaction or even make the payment on their phone.
Mobile and digital bill pay grow
According to the Eighth Annual Billing Household Survey from Fiserv, consumers like having these choices. In fact, about 10 percent of households only use one bill pay method for their many financial obligations.
Two methods that have gained in popularity recently is paying bills on a bank or credit union website, and paying on a bank or credit union's mobile app. The two accounted for 27 and 14 percent of the volume of mobile bill payments, respectively. Jim Lester, Fiserv's senior vice president of product management and biller solutions, explained that consumers today expect to be able to make their own decisions about how they pay bills and other financial tasks.
"In today's on-demand economy, consumers have the entire world at their fingertips," he said. "With so much available, consumers have been conditioned to expect real-time service in every aspect of life - including billing and bill payments."
According to another survey from Massachusetts-based American Consumer Credit Counseling, nearly 80 percent of consumers prefer digital payments because they are easier to pay bills online, and because they allow them to track the payment to ensure the payment goes through properly.
"This survey highlights a continuing trend of consumers paying and preferring to pay bills online," Steve Trumble, ACCC's president and CEO, said. "With more and more user friendly websites, mobile apps and automatic bill payment services, it is much easier to pay bills on time when you are paying online."
Credit unions must take action
CUNA noted that this is an important trend for credit unions to get out in front of now. Many credit unions and banks offering mobile apps and website features that provide an easy method of paying bills for members. The financial institutions that don't soon offer the same convenience risk a shrinking member base.
Fiserv's study found that there are three main aspects consumers seek when paying bills:
The first is key. It's crucial that any app or website that allows a person to access his or her financial information be highly secure. It's even more important that members know that the website or app is secure and can be trusted. Without this trust, they will likely seek out a different bill pay method they do trust.
The second is increasingly more important in today's world. People want to accomplish their least favorite tasks in the quickest and simplest way possible. Offing them the convenience to pay their bills from their mobile phone anywhere, at any time, is the best way to do this.
Finally, members need to be happy with their experience. In the case of paying bills, the best way to make a consumer happy is to give them choices. By creating an effective bill pay method on your website and mobile app, your credit union will be able to retain members and show them you care about their needs and preferences.