According to research commissioned by Fiserv, Inc. (NASDAQ:FISV), a leading global provider of financial services technology solutions, there has been substantial growth in mobile bill pay offerings and usage over the past year.
Almost one in five visits to a biller's website come from a mobile device - a 55 percent increase over 2013. Of those visits, bill payment is the number one consumer activity.
Despite the growing use of the mobile channel, only 16 percent of billers have implemented a mobile bill pay and presentment (MBPP) strategy.
The Third Annual Biller Mobile Bill Pay Benchmark Study examines the progression of mobile bill payment and billers' approaches to MBPP, which includes enabling customers to pay their bills through a mobile device using a variety of methods, as well as presenting bills for viewing on a mobile device.
A research paper highlighting the study findings, "A Comprehensive View of Mobile Billing and Payment: Consumer Behavior and Preferences and Billers'
Strategies and Deployments," can be downloaded at http://fisv.co/1y6yBLK.
As the number of mobile bill payers continues to grow, billers need a solid understanding of customer behaviors in order to develop a MBPP strategy that addresses both customer needs and those of the billing organization.
There is a definitive link between mobile bill payments and an increase in customer satisfaction and paperless e-bill adoption, in which an electronic version of a bill replaces the mailed paper version. Billers offering MBPP saw a 44 percent greater e-bill adoption rate since 2013, compared to billers that did not offer the same capabilities. Those offering alerts and notifications had a 47 percent increase in e-bill adoption compared to billers that did not.
"Consumers want a consistent, secure experience across all channels. And as consumer use of the mobile channel increases, so does the demand for an enhanced mobile billing and payment experience," said Eric Leiserson, senior research analyst, Biller Solutions, Fiserv. "Large and small billers alike can provide a superior experience with capabilities such as bill pay alerts and remindersrs, and mobile image capture, which allows users to capture bill payment information with their smartphone camera. By developing and implementing a MBPP strategy, billers can improve the consumer's experience and satisfaction, as well as realize cost efficiencies with paperless adoption."
Billers face several barriers to implementing an MBPP strategy even though they see the added benefits. When asked to name their top three obstacles, 76 percent responded it is a challenge to provide the necessary IT resources, while 54 percent said conflicting priorities in their organization was an obstacle. Security concerns were cited by 43 percent, rising 16 percent over the prior year. This is most likely a result of high-profile payment card security breaches and concerns about managing solutions for an increasing number of devices and operating systems as the mobile market expands. Concerns about mobile security are mirrored among consumers according to findings from the Fiserv Seventh Annual Billing Household Survey.
"The mobile channel is a rapidly growing customer communications platform desired among our customers, and bill payment is a top activity," said Kathleen Kelley, manager of customer interface and channel management at American Electric Power. "Utilizing responsive design and allowing customers to interact with us the way they want creates high business value and is critical to satisfaction and overall success."
In 2014, Fiserv commissioned Blueflame Consulting, LLC to explore billers' approaches to mobile bill payment and presentment. Blueflame Consulting, LLC polled business managers and decision-makers at 128 billing organizations of various sizes and industries including utilities, telcos, consumer lending, insurance companies.