Bill pay messages have typically focused on the ease and timesaving aspects of using online bill pay. But current trends offer insight into new, relevant messages to continue to raise awareness and promote bill pay to members. Here are some fresh ideas for leveraging market conditions to target different member segments within your credit union.
Focus on Financial Management, Budgeting and Savings
A recent Internet Strategy Consortium survey of 10,664 online members found that members are concerned about their financial future, including saving more in general (42%) and rising costs (40%). In addition, four in ten members were interested in online tools to track expenses 42%) and/or budgeting tools (42%). Online bill payment is one way for members to track all of their payments to more carefully manage their money.
In this time of stricter credit standards, consumers are becoming more aware of the potential impact of a single late payment on their credit rating. Related fees and interest rate increases can further damage a member’s financial position. To highlight the financial management strengths of your bill pay product:
- Action Step: Focus on the efficient money-management benefits of bill pay, including the ease of seeing all of your pending payments at once.
- Action Step: Emphasize that your bill pay program allows members to schedule payments to ensure they are all paid on time.
Promoting Environmentally-Friendly Practices
There is a growing focus by consumers and the media on environmentally friendly practices such as reducing the use of paper and paper-related products. A recent Burst Media survey found that more than out of five (81.9%) respondents have incorporated some level of green activity into their lives. Familiarity with electronic billing and statements continues to grow - the Internet Strategy Consortium survey found that 55% of members received at least some of their bills electronically, even among the non-bill pay users. Many credit unions are actively marketing their e-statements in terms of environmental benefits, but bill pay should be included in this sales message as well.
Bill pay is also attractive to younger members for environmentally friendly reasons. An e-Marketer survey found a correlation between environmental sensitivity and a willingness to use online channels for e-commerce, social networking, and content consumption and sharing.
- Action Step: Remind members that bill presentment, e-statements and online payments are a good way to reduce paper and help save the environment.
Focus on Bill Pay Security Features
While consumers are increasingly using online payment options, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they are familiar with the features and benefits of the credit union bill pay program. Concern about online security may also push members towards a single-source bill pay system. Almost half of the online members in an Internet Strategy Consortium survey of bill pay users and non-users reported using a biller website during the previous year. As members use a larger number of biller websites, the need to input personal account information or credit card account information online at various sites could be a cause for concern. In addition to the hassles associated with memorizing multiple passwords, recent incidents with various retailers have highlighted potential problems and security breaches.
- Action Step: Inform members about the security features of the credit union online bill pay. Also give details regarding their limited liability should fraud occur.
Tie Bill Pay to E-Accounts and Required E-Channel Usage
According to the latest Pew Internet usage data, 53% of Americans have banked online, and this number continues to rise along with broadband adoption rates nationwide. As online-only accounts and rewards programs continue to grow, consumers are becoming increasingly familiar with account requirements that involve the use of online channels and debit usage. Oregon Community CU’s Remarkable Checking account with a 4.05% APY requires the use of online banking, e-statements, and 10 debit transactions per month. Although not a requirement, 24% of these account holders use bill pay, compared to only 10% of their other checking account users.
This growing familiarity and usage means that credit unions should consider adding a bill payment requirement for either a higher yield account or certain types of e-accounts for checking. This may give members an additional incentive to start using the credit union bill pay program and consolidate their payments. The Internet Strategy Consortium survey found that 10% of credit union online members were using other bill pay providers, and their satisfaction with their bill pay provider was lower than members using the credit union’s bill pay.
- Action Step: Offer benefits to members for increasing their relationship with the credit union through bill pay.
- Action Step: Require bill payment usage (paying a certain number of bills per month) for e-accounts.
- Action Step: Position your bill pay program’s tools and features as better than the competition, and make it easy to sign-up.