Bill Pay: Build It, Make It Easy, and Promote It … and They Will Come

Bill pay is not a ''build it and they will come'' product. As Suncoast Schools experience shows, credit unions need to promote bill pay in order for members (and the credit union) to reap the benefits.

 
 

Although bill pay can offer significant benefits to both members and credit unions, credit unions as an industry have achieved lackluster results. Offering members the desired functionality is one essential ingredient in generating greater usage. Electronic billing (e-bills) is one example of the type of functionality members expect today ( click here to read more on e-bills).

However, “best in class” functionality alone will not drive adoption and usage rates. To truly reap the benefits of bill pay, credit unions need to actively promote their bill pay solutions, both externally and internally. One credit union that has developed and promoted a successful online bill management system is Suncoast Schools Federal Credit Union.

Case Study: Suncoast Schools FCU ($4.8 billion, Tampa, FL)
Suncoast Schools FCU has been offering online bill pay for several years. Recently the credit union began offering e-bills. In order to get members to adopt and use its online bill management system, Suncoast set out to educate both its members and employees about its bill pay program.

External Promotions
To drive member adoption rates and encourage usage, Suncoast Schools developed an innovative promotional plan to its members. Suncoast announced that every bill payment made in the month of August would be entered into a drawing. At the end of the month, Suncoast would then select 30 transactions and pay up to $500 of each payment.

The contest proved highly successful. As the chart below illustrates, over 1,500 new bill pay accounts were opened in August, nearly three times the average monthly growth rate. Growth has continued since the promotion, with nearly 500 new users signing up each month. According to Suncoast Schools, members who signed up for the program during the promotional period are continuing to pay their bills online.

Active Users*

 

 

Jul-05

15,100

Aug-05 

16,652

Sep-05

17,300

Oct-05

17,825

* Use bill pay at least once in last 30 days

Internal Promotions
Credit unions need to educate their employees about the benefits of bill pay as well. At Suncoast, the bill pay program was designated the “product of the month” in August to promote the new platform and to make sure that employees understood the changes and the importance of online bill management.

Suncoast is very committed to having their employees familiar with the program and its benefits. As such, Suncoast developed a similar promotional program for staff, establishing a month-end drawing and paying the bills of selected employees.

 

 

 

Dec. 5, 2005


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