Uptake of electronic bill presentment and payment (EBPP) services is set to accelerate over the next four years, according to new research from TowerGroup.
A new report, "Sizing the Global Market for Electronic Bill Presentment and Payment Services," shows that while the US will maintain its lead in creating EBPP volume through to 2005, markets in both the European Union and Asia-Pacific regions will make significant gains.
The research suggests wireless devices will serve as a critical delivery channel in regions where PC and landline phone penetration lag North America. Also, the need to streamline business-to-business (B2B) interaction and costs will create a strong global impetus for the conversion to electronic billing, says TowerGroup.
The report reveals that the US market, which produces close to 30 billion bills and invoices per year, represents a fraction of the international potential for EBPP services. According to TowerGroup, consumers worldwide received 103.7 billion bills in 2001, while their business counterparts received nearly 49.6 billion bills and invoices.
Together, North America and the European Union generate 62% of the world's business bills and invoices. This concentration of volume will contribute to the acceleration in electronic billing conversions in the B2B arena at an overall rate that is greater than the rate of business-to-consumer (B2C) conversion, suggests the report. By 2010, TowerGroup forecasts that global B2B electronic presentment and payment volume will exceed B2C electronic billing activity.
The research group cites figures of 50 million consumer bills and more than 10 million B2B items transacted during 2001. By 2005, these numbers will rise to more than 2.4 billion items, respectively, for both consumer and B2B transactions, predicts TowerGroup.
Ed Kountz, a senior analyst in TowerGroup's mobile financial strategies service, says: "Access to transactional functionality via wireless channels will help drive the evolution toward EBPP which has already begun in markets such as the combined European Union. Today, virtually all of the 288 million wireless phones in Western Europe can send and receive data via either SMS (Short Message Service) or WAP (Wireless Application Protocol), with more than 120 million handling basic text or more sophisticated messaging transactions during 2000."