Have you paid a bill late in the past year? If so, you’re not alone. A recent payments study found that 51% of respondents had paid a bill late at least once in the last year.
The more shocking discovery was that 21% had paid late more than four times. Inflationary stressors may be partly to blame, with many families finding themselves with “more month than money” these days.
But for other consumers, the reasons are more micro than macro. They are forgetting pay dates, losing paper or email bills and struggling to log into the payment site or navigate the biller website.
Those of us who get paid to think about payments have an effective solution: personalised payment links. These unique links can be sent to payers monthly through reminder messages to reduce payment barriers and help consumers pay on time.
Greasing the wheels of payment
Personal payment links take the friction out of bill payment by eliminating the following payment hurdles:
- Remembering to pay: Personalised links are sent through reminder messages delivered via the payer’s preferred channel of communication—email, SMS text message or push notification. When the reminder arrives, the individual knows it’s time to complete payment.
- Finding the bill: No bill statement is necessary to complete payment.
- Recalling passwords: The unique links take each payer directly to his or her payment screen—no passwords or account numbers required.
- Knowing payment amount: The payment screen is dynamically populated with all the necessary information, including payment amount, payment date, etc. The payer simply enters his or her desired form of payment and clicks to pay.
Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) will further contribute to convenient, hyper-personalised payment convenience. For instance, AI and ML can use previous payments data to determine when it’s most effective to send a particular customer a payment link. It might also suggest a payment type based on the ones most commonly and successfully used in the past.
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Three top candidates for payment links
Not surprisingly, most consumers believe payment links are a good and helpful idea. In the previously mentioned study, 68% percent of consumers aged 18-29, and 63% across all age groups, said getting a payment reminder would help them pay bills on time.
We’ve found this especially true for three groups of borrowers:
Consumers are conducting their lives on their smartphones, and that includes paying their bills. These mobile-first customers appreciate—and in many cases, demand—that paying bills be as easy and mobile as other digital transactions.
Personalised payment links make that possible. Any time of day, from any location, customers can pay their bills in minutes, with only a few inputs.
Billers can even make it possible for customers to access their personalised payment link in their digital wallet. It’s the ultimate accommodation of modern bill payment preferences.
“Whoops, I forgot” payers
These consumers have trouble systematising their bill payments so they are more likely to be delinquent on payment. In our study, 37% of those with a late payment said they had procrastinated or forgot to pay. Others said they had lost or overlooked the bill in their pile of mail (34%) or email (26%). About a quarter (24%) got confused about payment dates. Finally, 19% became frustrated with the complicated online bill payment process.
As noted, personalised payment links eliminate these common barriers.
In today’s inflationary economy, many consumers are forced to pick and choose which bills they pay first. Having a payment link sent directly to them can help tip the scales and encourage them to make that biller’s payment a priority.
Personalised payment links also reduce hassles for financially-stressed payers. When you remove potential frustration points such as remembering passwords or navigating biller websites, customers are less likely to avoid or abandon payment.
Do personalised links work? Follow the data
It makes sense that personalised payment links help customers pay on time, but billers don’t need to leave that up to guesswork. Their payments technology provider can conduct data analysis to track which customers use the links, when they use them and how payment timeliness is impacted.
That data can also help billers fine-tune their approach. For instance, they might test strategies like sending the links a few days earlier in the billing cycle or bumping up engagement communications to try to increase the number of people using the links.
Payers are ultimately the ones who have to follow through on paying their bills. Billers can only do so much. But when they use personalised payment links to make the process significantly easier and faster, both they and their customers will benefit.
Jill Conrad is the Sr. Director of Sales at PayNearMe. She partners with lenders to help automate the payments and collections processes, as well as increase self-service and customer payment satisfaction by allowing their customers to pay how, when and where they want.