Dec 15, 2015
What is the most loathed household task for Americans? It turns out that it is cleaning bathrooms. The second most common response, however, was paying bills. In fact, 32% of the 2,000 consumers we surveyed had missed a payment due date in the last year, most often because they simply forgot to pay. Stress plays a significant role in why consumers dislike paying bills.
These insights came from research that we conducted earlier this Fall in preparation for Money20/20, an impressive payments and financial services innovation event that took place in Las Vegas. With more than 10,000 attendees this year, Money20/20 has grown into a massive conference and trade show—having to move from the Aria this year to leverage the larger Sands convention center.
I participated in the event once again as a presenter and session moderator on the topic of household bill payment. After presenting some of the research highlights, I had the pleasure of moderating an executive panel made up of four industry stakeholders with different market perspective. Panelists included:
- John Ballantyne, VP, Product Development Manager, Treasury & Payment Solutions at SunTrust
- Al Ko, SVP & GM Consumer Ecosystem Group (Mint & Mint Bills) of Intuit
- Eric Leiserson, Director, Market Insights & Research of Fiserv
- Rene Villa, Manager, Electronic Billing & Payments of Florida Power & Light
Our discussion focused on shifts in the household bill pay market and the technologies that will have the most impact in the future. Here are some of the key insights on mobile, bill consolidation services, and what the household bill payment market will look like in 2020.
Mobile comes up in just about any panel discussion around customer communications, and ours was no different.
- John Ballantyne noted that SunTrust has “mobile-only clients now. So we’re seeing this dramatic shift, largely driven by millennials. So the channel by which people are paying bills is shifting and that’s happening at a much more rapid pace.”
- Al Ko commented that 70% of Mint users are mobile-only. He went on to say that his group has dramatically changed the way they develop products and services, from a desktop web-centric approach (with the best features going to the mobile app) to now being mobile-centric and deciding what to put on the desktop web version for those who still use it.
- Eric Leiserson spoke to the need for better alerts and reminders, noting that this will be a “game changer for online bill payments, and especially e-bill adoption.”
Bill Consolidation Services
InfoTrends research shows that 60% of consumers want to manage all of their monthly bill payments through a single portal. So regardless if the portal is a bank or a non-bank consolidation service (like doxo, FileThis, Finovera, or Mint Bills), the majority of consumers want an aggregated option.
- Rene Villa led out saying that he was seeing a shift in Florida Power & Light’s customer base from traditional bank bill pay to more third party (non-bank) bill pay services.
- John Ballantyne at SunTrust provided a different perspective, saying that he is seeing people wanting to pay bills from one location, and they are going to their financial institution to do so.
- Eric Leiserson supported Ballantyne on this point, noting that “Our volumes for bank bill pay are healthy at Fiserv and through our 3,800 financial institutions.”
- Al Ko weighed in, noting that “For the vast majority of Americans, actually, there are some limitations to bank bill pay that could be addressed.”
To close the session, I asked each panelist to briefly describe what they think the household bill payment market will look like in 2020. Here were their perspectives:
- Eric Leiserson expects that 50% of payments will be card-funded, 50% will come from a mobile device, and 50% of bills presented will be done so electronically.
- John Ballantyne expects that bill payment is going to be part of an overall financial management solution. The way it is packaged will be different, as it will be designed around the customer.
- Rene Villa drew laughs when he said “I don’t think bill pay is sexy.” He went on to explain that “the future is continuing to keep it simple” and expected that we will either see more card payments or an emergence of faster ACH (eCheck) payments.
- Al Ko closed out the session with a pithy insight, stating that “it’s really about ease of use, and all in one place with more choice.”
This is an important topic to InfoTrends and we thank Money20/20 and our panelists for helping to foster this dialogue. On that note, Money20/20 Europe will debut in Copenhagen April 4-7, 2016 for those interested in attending and comparing the market dynamics. The bill payments market has so much disruption ahead of it, and we plan to be there to track it!
Director, Advisory Services:
Clients of InfoTrends’ Transactional Communications & Payments advisory service have full access to the research findings cited within this blog post. We will soon be launching our 2016 Annual State of the Transactional Communications Market Survey, where clients will have an opportunity to weigh in on the questions we ask. For more information on how to gain access to the results, contact Jennifer Skerrett at firstname.lastname@example.org today!
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