Remember when the drive-through window at your credit union was considered
a modern convenience? As more and more of your credit union members adopt today's
modern convenience - paying their bills online - it is critical that your bill
payment site be a flexible solution that delivers superior control. Including
both elements enables you to evolve as your members' needs become more sophisticated.
Do you offer a flexible solution that delivers superior control?
Most bill pay applications offer a basic front-end with minimal flexibility,
expecting you to settle for customizing only colors and logos. This is great,
if all you want to do is add "online bill payment" to your list of
services in marketing materials. However, if you see bill pay as an integral
tool in your online services, the look-and-feel of your bill payment application
should go beyond merely customizing your logo. Accordingly, it is important
to have a bill payment solution that supports your initiative.
Does your solution match the look-and-feel of your other online applications?
Do you lack the internal resources to support a full in-house solution? Do you
still want more control than the average service-bureau solution provides? If
so, how do you balance your needs with your budget? First, it is important to
identify which elements of the bill pay site you wish to modify. Would the ability
to change simple pieces such as text on the front-end or sections of the site
meet your needs? Or do you desire even more customization?
Does your solution have flexible architecture that can adapt and evolve
with your needs?
Often credit unions test the waters with a basic bill pay offering. Once bill
pay takes off, the credit union usually wants more control in customizing its
application, integrating additional services (e.g. alerts, secure messaging
and account-to-account transfers) and making changes to reduce support issues.
If you choose your provider wisely, your bill pay solution has the ability to
grow with your needs by offering multiple levels of control and cost-savings.
It is especially important to choose a vendor that can support your development,
avoiding the necessity of converting to another vendor when your needs expand.
So, how do you know if your vendor has the ability to grow with your needs?
The first step is to explore exactly how much flexibility your vendor offers.
Many ASP solutions only offer minimal customization of colors, logos and some
marketing text. If your vendor offers additional options, ask how those features
are implemented. Additionally, identify other support models your vendor offers.
Your vendor should present a variety of support options in order to effectively
grow with your needs, including:
1. Service-bureau or ASP - offers the option of limited customization
(e.g. colors, logos and banner ads). This is ideal if you are new to the bill
pay arena. However, a vendor should offer additional customization, such as
different payment-funding models, options for how payments are scheduled,
and the ability to customize all bill payment site text and event-driven messages
to members. These additional options allow the ASP model to progress as your
members' needs progress.
2. Full customization - allows complete customization of your front-end
interface, in order to match your home banking application. With full customization,
you maintain your own bill payment Web pages, while still connecting to the
vendor's payment warehouse and bill pay databases. This is a great solution,
allowing you complete control over your members' bill payment experience while
still minimizing incremental costs. This model also supports integration of
other third-party applications and provides the ultimate low-cost, high-control
3. In-house - allows you to host and maintain all aspects of your bill
pay system (including Web pages, payment warehouse and bill payment databases),
while outsourcing your payment remittance processing to your vendor. This
option enables you to completely customize the bill pay experience.
According to a recent creditunions.com
analysis, online bill pay customers tend to be more loyal. They also tend to
utilize a greater number of financial services. So, the online bill pay solution
you choose is not just a modern convenience for your members, but an essential
tool for the success of your business as well.
For more information about bill payment products and services, contact your
corporate credit union or Nate Truelson, national sales director, (888) 656-4050,
ext. 6126, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Or visit memberstreet.com.