Digital billing in need of shake-up for consumers

News.com.au:

BILLS sent by snail mail can now be paid faster by mobile phone than those sent by email. Sound ridiculous? That’s because it is. Here’s how it works.

AUSTRALIA’S digital payments landscape is headed for imminent disruption and consumers will be the ones to benefit.

As it currently stands, it is easier to make an online payment for a bill received in the traditional mail than it is to pay one received digitally.

While bills received via ‘snail mail’ take longer to arrive and cost more to send, figures show they are more successful at reaching the recipient. Customers can also pay these bills using their mobile phone, while reading payment codes such as BPAY from the paper notice.

Bills sent by email however risk being mistaken for spam and sent to a junk folder, or missed altogether. They are usually PDF documents, which must be downloaded and opened, before net banking is opened in a separate browser and a 16-digit payment code entered.

Sniip m-billing will allow customers to receive and pay bills within the one app.
Sniip m-billing will allow customers to receive and pay bills within the one app.

The difficulty involved led Sniip, a mobile payment app, to launch a QR code scanning capability from paper bills, allowing instant payments via a four-digit pin or thumbprint.

In the coming months, most major non-bank bills, such as energy, insurance, rates and water bills, will be able to be paid with this app, says Sniip CEO Damien Vasta.

“There is currently no obvious transition from receiving an email bill to paying it, due to the static nature of PDFs,” Mr Vasta said. “People are paying extra for paper bills because it’s cheaper than paying late fees from forgetting to pay a digital bill.

“If customers are going to be expected to change their behaviour, you’ve got to give them something in return. Don’t expect them to pay digitally just because it’s cheaper for the biller.”

QR codes on paper bills are only planned as a temporary measure though, before customers will eventually receive bills directly into their mobile app.

“First, it’s about enabling a payment opportunity on a medium people are most comfortable with, which is paper,” he said. “Eighty per cent of bills are still on paper and allowing people to use their phone to pay paper bills makes them comfortable. It’s then an easier proposition to get them happy to receive their bills straight into their app.

“So far 91 per cent of our customers are paying ahead of time, which says to us that when you make it easier, people pay on time, not when they get their reminder notice.

“The next generation of payers will say ‘I don’t care how I make the payment, as long as it’s easier to make’.”

The QR scan-to-pay functionality for paper bills has been rolled out in Queensland councils in Toowoomba, Gympie and Brisbane City.

Leanne Griffiths uses the Sniip mobile app to pay some bills.
Leanne Griffiths uses the Sniip mobile app to pay some bills.

Toowoomba Regional Council general manager finance and business strategy Arun Pratap said the council was dedicated to using innovation that improves residents’ lives.

Queensland mother of two Leanne Griffiths manages her family finances and finds email bills frustrating.

“We’ve got investment properties and we’re doing a renovation, so I pay a lot of bills,” the 32-year-old said. “I get emailed bills that don’t need to be paid for a while so I mark them as unread, but then forget about them. Then there’s the hassle of having to go in and out of screens.”

She found paper billing easiest, until she began using QR scanning.

“We moved to Brisbane a year ago and it was available on our rates and water bills,” she said. “It’s much easier and it also sends reminders when bills are due.”

Read original story here.

QR codes on paper bills are only planned as a temporary measure though, before customers will eventually receive bills directly into their mobile app.

“First, it’s about enabling a payment opportunity on a medium people are most comfortable with, which is paper,” he said. “Eighty per cent of bills are still on paper and allowing people to use their phone to pay paper bills makes them comfortable. It’s then an easier proposition to get them happy to receive their bills straight into their app.

“So far 91 per cent of our customers are paying ahead of time, which says to us that when you make it easier, people pay on time, not when they get their reminder notice.

“The next generation of payers will say ‘I don’t care how I make the payment, as long as it’s easier to make’.”

2018-02-20T10:56:51+00:00