Study ranks consumers' bill-pay priorities
Speed. Security. Satisfaction.
These are the three "S-Factors" that most influence consumer billing and payment behavior, according to the "Eighth Annual Billing Household Survey," released by Fiserv Inc.
Consumers want a bill-payment experience that is as easy, convenient and intuitive as a push of the button, according to a Fiserv press release about the report.
"Consumers have been conditioned to expect real-time service in every aspect of life — including billing and bill payments," said Jim Lester, Fiserv senior vice president of product management for biller solutions. "In this year's survey, we see consumers demanding the choice to securely receive and pay bills in a way that intuitively fits with their daily needs, at any given time, and at the speed that bests fits their lives."
The need for speed
Speed and convenience drive consumers' payment channel choice. And this applies not only to payment processing but to payment interaction.
One in four households reported using the nonregistered "guest checkout option" at biller sites for convenience and to avoid entering passwords.
More than 8 in 10 households surveyed said that real-time or same-day processing is important to very important.
Security is top of mind
More than 27 million bill payers are more concerned about security than they were a year ago. In terms of consumers' perceptions of the most secure ways to receive and pay bills, bank bill pay and biller direct options are virtually tied (32 percent and 33 percent, respectively).
These are followed by mail (25 percent), email (8 percent) and nonbanking sites (2 percent). Plastic is seen as more secure than ACH, with 57 percent of people saying that they view credit, debit or prepaid cards as more secure than ACH.
Consumers demand choice
The link between payment options and customer satisfaction has strengthened significantly in the past 12 months.
Overall, 7 in 10 respondents said that having multiple options for paying increases their customer satisfaction — 43 percent more than in the 2014 survey.
Paperless e-bills are a top satisfaction driver, with 66 percent of consumers; another 36 percent say the availability of paperless electronic bills makes them less likely to switch to a competitor.
The Fiserv Annual Consumer Billing Household Survey included 3,001 consumers, representative of U.S. checking account holders 21 and older who are responsible for paying household bills.