Billers Seek Tech Upgrades to Deliver Mobile and Real-Time Consumer Bill Pay Experiences – pymnts.com

Much has been made of the great digital shift in eCommerce, where, as the pandemic wound its way through its first year, we went to online channels to get what we needed.
Andrew Sajeski, vice president of solution consulting, biller segment at ACI Worldwide, told PYMNTS that billers — which let consumers receive and pay their bills — continue to play catch up with that great digital pivot. And they are in a test-and-learn pattern for some new initiatives that will gain traction into the new year, and well beyond 2022.
Looking back at 2021, the key drivers for biller growth, he said, included the fact that there is the “continuous need for choice and flexibility for consumers as they want to choose when, how and where they pay their bills.”
See also: ACI Worldwide and KyckGlobal Broaden Digital Disbursements for US Billers
At the same time, he said, these same consumers want to receive funds in their preferred manner — and in an increasingly online world, that means digitally. But there are still a number of obstacles preventing those flexible, digital experiences.
Sajeski recounted his own personal experience: Over just the past few weeks, he told PYMNTS, he received a number of paper checks for things like an auto lease overpayment and adjudicated health insurance claim from companies that had information on file that would have, conceivably, enabled digital disbursements. The pain point is widespread, he said — only about 30% of companies are tackling digital disbursements.
Beyond the Paper Checks
Paper checks, of course, don’t provide anything like an optimal experience for consumers — even if those individuals have mobile deposit and capture tools on hand that can let them skirt having to go to a financial institution branch or an ATM to deposit the checks.
But momentum is in place: Individuals are embracing online bill-pay options that are not solely related to their bank, but pull in several billers in one place, with richer data streams that are presented directly to consumers.
Having a single bill pay channel (without cobbling together a slew of individual banking apps), he said, “makes bill payment nice and easy.”
Looking ahead, as consumers skew younger, said Sajeski, we’re likely to see a continued shift to mobile, as Gen Z and millennials continue to navigate so much of their daily activities on their devices. They don’t want to navigate the maze of downloading and grappling with individual apps and, increasingly want to link to digital wallets to make their transactions and communicate with their billers.
“Now the biller is ‘living’ in your phone,” he said, “and you don’t have to download these apps, because the biller is also ‘living’ in your wallet.”
The pandemic has also underscored the ease of use that consumers now expect from their service providers. That means billers will need to invest in their front-end innovation. Individuals want to have a range of payment options presented to them, and prize one-click functionality that “remembers” consumers across their omnichannel journeys.
“These consumers want to use the ‘pays’ — Apple Pay and Google Pay, and PayPal and Venmo,” Sajeski said.
Real-time payments will also make inroads, said Sajeski, though will not likely hit critical mass in 2022.
“We’ll see some more companies in pilots around [real time],” he said, though real-time payments will have to see strong adoption/demand by consumers to entice billers to get onboard.
And the industry itself is going to experiment a bit with different ways to send requests for payment — perhaps through two-factor engagements. “I think consumers are used to [multifactor authentication] at this point,” he told PYMNTS.
As 2022 dawns, he said, with a nod to real time, “I would really like to see that we have that first client doing a pilot, receiving [real-time disbursements through the likes of Zelle]” and more work between ACI Worldwide and Zelle and other parties to determine what works — and what doesn’t.
As he told PYMNTS, 2022 and even 2023 will continue to be a time of “testing and learning” for online billers.
You may also like: Innovations Prime Pump for Surge in Cross-Border, Real-Time Payments
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NEW PYMNTS DATA: AUTHENTICATING IDENTITIES IN THE DIGITAL ECONOMY – DECEMBER 2021

About:More than half of U.S. consumers think biometric authentication methods are faster, more convenient and more trustworthy than passwords or PINs — so why are less than 10% using them? PYMNTS, in collaboration with Mitek, surveyed more than 2,200 consumers to better define this perception versus use gap and identify ways businesses can boost usage.
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