Online bill payment has taken hold, with more than half of payments now paid online via the biller, a bank or a third-party website. That’s impressive, but it does leave room to grow your online bill payment, even after we toss out the 10 percent of Americans who still don’t use the internet.
Businesses gain significant financial advantages by nudging more customers to online payment. I knew there was money to be saved but have to admit I was shocked by the results of a recent study that compared the cost of processing 500 bills paid by check to 500 bills paid online. When all the expenses–paper, printing, envelopes, mailing, employee time, banking fees–were tallied for printed bills, the grand total came to around $2,000 a month. Cost for the 500 bills paid online? A paltry $140. So, based on those results, for every 500 customers that shift away from paper checks, you could save more than $20,000 a year.
Even if the amount is half that in your business’s case, it is a significant sum, and it makes encouraging more customers to use online bill payment a smart business move. Here are some motivating messages to share with them–through social media, advertising and other marketing.
If your business stands to save significant money when more customers pay online, share a bit of the savings by offering a reward to those who make the shift. Offer a discount, a gift, a chance to win a prize. We’re all motivated by incentives.
Clutter has become a very bad word. We all have too much stuff, and that includes paper bills and records. Epayment puts a dent in piles of paper around the house, and for many, that is a big plus.
A lot of your customers are on the road. Maybe they are retirees, off to see farflung family or busy entrepreneurs, on the road, selling their product. Online payment fits mobile lifestyles.
Fewer mailed bills means less stress on Mother Earth. By using one of the environmental calculators that’s readily available, you can calculate how much your business’s online bill pay is already benefiting the environment and promote these savings to your customers. One utility tallied how many trees, tons of paper and gallons of water were saved and how much greenhouse gas and solid waste was avoided. The numbers–for example, almost 6,000 trees saved–were quite impressive.
Your customers’ time is valuable too. The average consumer spends from 2-4 minutes writing a check and preparing a bill to mail. A year’s worth of stamps for 8 monthly bills is around $50. Paying a bill online usually takes less than a minute. Automated payments can be set up, a big relief for those of us who are perpetually unorganized.
Information can be lifted from a paper bill at many points along its mail trail. If your company uses the latest in security measures–and keeps upgrading and improving them–you can ensure customers that using your epayment system is more secure and safer than getting a paper bill.
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