Small- and mid-sized business (SMB) owners are constantly looking for efficiencies. But until recently, electronic billing and payment capabilities were simply out of their reach. Although large companies and utilities have already made the investment to build custom electronic bill presentment and payment (EBPP) capabilities — which enable their customers to view bills and make payments online — most SMBs were relegated to paper-based invoicing delivered through the U.S. Postal Service.
As a result of their previous reliance on traditional channels, these SMBs incurred additional postage, printing, and lockbox expenses, all while waiting weeks for the payments to trickle in. But now, all of that is changing.
Today, turnkey EBPP solutions are available for financial institutions of all sizes to offer to their SMB owners. These solutions enable any business that generates bills or invoices — i.e., landscapers, pool cleaners, website designers — to give their monthly customers the option of electronically viewing and paying bills online through ACH, credit cards, or debit cards. The solution even has a voice enabled option for payments by customers who prefer a phone option.
Each billing cycle, business members (billers) have the ability to automatically load their bills into a fully hosted, secure online site. Their customers will receive notification that bills are available for viewing by clicking on a link, or alternately, an electronic copy of the bill may be attached directly to each email. Upon viewing the bill, the SMB’s customers may then choose to pay immediately or schedule payment for a future date.
In the end, many SMBs are willing to reward their customers for receiving and paying their bills electronically because they reap significant operational efficiencies and financial benefits. SMBs using these options save postage and printing costs, improve their accounts receivable position, and reduce their bookkeeping burden. All of the payment postings get electronically created in a file that businesses can import to their accounts receivable system with no manual intervention or reconciliation required. This benefit, along with the inherent cost savings, is particularly attractive to busy SMB owners.
Responding to a Changing Market
These new options gives credit unions an opportunity to meet the emerging market needs of their business members and prevent non-financial institutions from siphoning off those individuals’ payments business.
They also improve stickiness, drive better efficiency, and increase revenue by providing the flexibility to charge fees for these services.
To learn more about how you can create a win-win opportunity by helping your business account holders save on billing costs while generating an additional stream of non-interest income, join us for a complimentary webinar on July 31, 2013 at 2:00 p.m. EDT. We will explore the trends in EBPP and discuss why it is an essential, value-added service for your business members.
To register for the free webinar, click here.
Scott Hansen is the executive vice president responsible for marketing, product management, market development, product legal compliance, alliance management and strategic planning.
Harland Financial Solutions serves as a strategic technology partner to more than 6,000 financial institutions of all sizes, including commercial banks, thrifts, credit unions and mortgage companies. The company supplies comprehensive software solutions and services that help increase institutional performance and drive profitability. Its portfolio of solutions includes branch automation, business intelligence, core processing systems, enterprise content management, financial accounting, lending & compliance, loan servicing, payments, risk management and self service solutions.