As consumers continue to move toward a completely digital life, they are embracing different forms of online billing and ways to accept payments, including EMV or chip card use, and an increase in mobile connectedness. Customers use an average of 3.6 different payment methods each month for their bills, according to the 2016 Annual Billing Household Survey. Mobile payment use increased dramatically, with 33% of online households reporting to have paid a monthly bill through their mobile phone, a 22% increase compared to last year’s survey.
Online payments are faster than manual payments since you don’t have to wait for the check to arrive or for it to clear. The whole process—from submitting an online payment to updating your bank account—can take a matter of seconds. The end result is improved cash flow for your organization and almost immediate confirmation of transactions. Here are some tips to help you make sure your financial institution is covering your bases when it comes to accepting payments online.
1. Chose the right payment service provider
If you haven’t done so already, choosing the right payment system provider for your institution is critical. There are multiple providers, each with a different focus and set of options. Some are geared toward smaller or larger organizations. Many provide additional features such as anti-fraud protection, but at a cost. But how do you know which online payment provider is right for your financial institution? Take into consideration the following factors as you begin comparing payment service providers to determine the right fit for you.
What kind of fees do they charge—per transaction, monthly, setup?
What volume of transactions do you expect on your website?
Are payments processed on your website or theirs? Do you care?
What kind of payments do they accept—credit card, debit card, ACH?
Do they support recurring payments?
2. Accept cards online
The majority of consumers expect to use the cards in their wallet as a payment method, rather than hunting down an ACH account and routing number. By adding card options to your payment methods, you will be more likely to increase self-service payment and increase customer loyalty. Other benefits to card use in your financial institution are getting paid faster and therefore, having more cash flow, getting real-time feedback on funds-availability, and reducing transaction risks by knowing the account’s status real-time and collecting card-holder information that is required to match the issuing bank’s records.
3. Accept eChecks through ACH processing
Another way to accepting payments is through a direct debit of a bank account with an eCheck, or electronic check. This allows your customer to input the information from their paper check (routing and account number, name, amount, and authorization) in an online payment form or software interface which processes the payment electronically.
Since ACH processing is governed by the National Automated Clearing House Association, it often has lower transaction fees than card-based transactions. It can also be more secure and predictable than waiting for a check in the mail.
4. Let borrowers use their mobile device to initiate a payment
Mobile payments offer an array of benefits to customers and financial institutions. Dipping a chip card, swiping a credit card, or keying a credit card number on a mobile device is becoming the norm for many customers and businesses. The payment is confirmed and an email receipt can be sent immediately.
According to Fiserv, 79% of households now having a smartphone so your opportunity to increase revenue, usage, and consumer loyalty through mobile payments is huge. Many consumers find that mobile payments are easier, more convenient, and saves them time.
5. Enable borrowers to set up reoccurring payments
Using a reoccurring billing system is a very popular method for customers to pay for many monthly services. This option not only makes it more convenient for your customers, but it almost guarantees you will be paid on time.
Staying organized is a top concern for customers when it comes to paying bills each month. By sending email reminders, or having them billed on a reoccurring basis, your financial institution can make your customers' lives easier while increasing customer satisfaction.
With the growing demands of consumers who are wanting “quick” and “convenient” options, not providing these payment channels may negatively impact your customer loyalty. Offering flexible, high-quality self-service payment options allows your institution to increase operational efficiencies and deliver greater convenience to your account holders.