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3 Survey Insights on Bill Payment Expectations for 2022

By Tessa Newell

Gaining insight into your customers' bill payment expectations is critical, regardless of the types of payments that fund your organization. For some organizations, collecting payments is their only regular interaction with customers, so their entire customer experience and customer satisfaction rates hinge on that one touchpoint — not to mention that if the payment experience isn’t simple, customers may not complete this critical process period. That means adjusting your payment options to meet your customers’ expectations could mean the difference between receiving on-time bill payments and not receiving payments at all.

In September of 2021, InvoiceCloud conducted an online survey to understand customer payment preferences, trends, and general behaviors around making bill payments in 2021. We conducted a similar survey in 2020, allowing us to directly compare how certain payment habits have diverged or remained consistent between this year and last. In total, we collected 1,266 qualified responses from consumers that have paid at least one bill online in the past 12 months.

So, what do customers want and expect from billing organizations? We’ve outlined 3 interesting insights from our survey that organizations like yours can use to make your payment experience more profitable and efficient.

Customer Insight #1: Prioritize the ease of the mobile payment experience

Unsurprisingly, due to COVID-19, we saw an increased appetite for online and mobile payments. However, a rise in popularity doesn’t necessarily mean that digital channels are automatically the respondents' preferred payment routes so we asked! And when asked to specify their preferred payment channels, the same two stood above the rest: online portals and mobile devices.

Channel Preference Graph

Overall, 43% of respondents prefer to make payments via an online portal and 35% prefer to pay bills on a mobile device. These were consistently the top two channels among respondents ages 18 to 61+ in fact, 55% of respondents in the 61+ age group prefer to make payments on a mobile device. This is particularly compelling compared to the 11% of the same age group who prefer to mail a check and the less than 2% of this demographic who prefer in-person payments.

How your organization can use this data:

As one of the top preferred payment options among all respondents, it’s crucial that your organization focuses on providing an easy and intuitive payment experience on both mobile devices and online payment portals. Bettering your online and mobile payment user experience (UX) will result in happier customers and may convince non-digital customers to give these payment routes a try (which only stands to benefit your organization with fewer phone calls and fewer checks to process).

At InvoiceCloud, we ensure our payment platform perfectly adapts to the mobile payment experience by fitting the dimensions of a mobile screen, making the experience much more user-friendly. We also help billing organizations make mobile payment options easier than ever with one-click payments or pay-by-text options.

Customer Insight #2: Sway non-digital customers with enhanced UX

For customers who aren’t convinced digital payments are the way to go (22% of our total respondent pool), how can you convince them to give online or mobile channels a try? When we asked this segment of consumers, here were the most popular responses:

Convert Graph

22 Asterick

Despite the hesitance, 89% of respondents who were unsure about digital payments said they would be willing to adopt e-payments for certain assurances or features, with data security being the top response. With increased data security concerns in all industries, it makes sense that a guarantee of data safety would be enough to sway hesitant customers.

The one feature all the other responses had in common? Ease of use. Whether it’s one-click payments, avoiding log-in walls, or having an overall easier online experience, offering an improved payment experience is the key to convincing historically non-digital payers to convert.

How your organization can use this data:

In the past, we’ve touched on the importance of leveraging SaaS to offer customers the most secure payment platform possible – but this new data suggests billing organizations need to take their safety precautions one step further. Once a secure platform is in place for collecting bill payments, customers need to be informed about the precautions, how they work, and more.

Arguably most important, however, is the insight on ease of use. Within this segment of respondents, our two youngest and inherently most tech-centric generations were most likely to choose "If it were easier to make payments online," which is a fascinating insight. If this demographic is citing that online and mobile payments are still not easy enough to use, then billing organizations need to reflect on the UX they’re providing for bill payment.

Some features like removing log-in walls and making the process intuitive may be enough to remove barriers to self-service payments, but this data highlights the need to review your organization’s entire payment UX, from start to finish. Putting yourself in the shoes of your payers is the first step to understanding how the payment experience can be improved.

Customer Insight #3: Offer flexible self-service options for those living paycheck to paycheck

Automatic payments (AutoPay) remain relatively popular, with 88% of respondents enrolled in AutoPay for at least some of their bills. When we asked the remaining 12% who aren’t enrolled in AutoPay for any bills why they've avoided this self-service route, an interesting trend emerged.

AutoPay Graph

While the majority of the 12% merely prefer to make manual payments each month, the 13% who selected "Other" nearly all submitted the same write-in answer: "Enrolling in AutoPay is too risky, as I live paycheck to paycheck and can’t guarantee the money will be in my account."

This fiscal reality offers billing organizations an opportunity to practice better financial inclusivity, in a few ways. To make the automatic payment route accessible to more people, it’s imperative to give customers control over the amount and scheduling of their monthly payments. Additionally, offering more flexible payment options (like mobile wallets) allows your organization to offer top-tier convenience while accommodating customer needs.

How your organization can use this data:

For customers who are living paycheck to paycheck, there are a few critical things your organization must do:

  • Offer as many flexible payment options as possible (like PayPal’s Pay in 4 or PayPal credit)
  • Ensure you have a robust notification system in place to keep them abreast of upcoming payment deadlines with constant communication across multiple channels.

With InvoiceCloud’s electronic billing and payment system, customers receive payment reminders even if they’re enrolled in AutoPay. So, if customers need to make an adjustment to the scheduled date, they can do so in advance of the payment.

Get more insights on your customers' bill payment expectations for 2022

Ready to learn more? Download the free 2021 State of Online Payments report here to learn:

  • How COVID-19 impacted payment preferences in the last year and how your organization should respond
  • Which groups are using digital wallets like Apple Pay, Google Pay, PayPal, and Venmo for bill payments
  • How payment notifications have impacted late and delinquent payment rates

Download Now 

Tags: customer experience, user experience, self-service, digital payments, research, online payments

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