The COVID-19 pandemic is sparking a multitude of changes in the world of payments. One such change centers on a move away from cash payments, for instance, for deliveries to consumers’ homes. What’s more, many consumers who once paid their bills in person or by mail are being compelled by stay-at-home orders and/or fear to find or accept the alternative, non-contact payment methods.
But this is just the tip of the iceberg. Once the pandemic is over, myriad individuals who may once have shied away from electronic payments will want–and in some cases, demand–to continue leveraging the convenience and safety of electronic payment options, including these x options:
1. INTERACTIVE VOICE RESPONSE (IVR) SYSTEMS
IVR systems allow consumers to make payments over the phone by following a series of pre-recorded messages and instructions. Payments can be made using a wide variety of payment types, such as credit card, debit card, or electronic check, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year, without interacting with an individual on the merchant’s end.
2. WEB-BASED PAYMENT SYSTEMS
Web-based payment systems permit merchants to link their own websites to a payment solutions provider’s payment site. Consumers initiate their payment by logging into the latter, which can be customized to match merchants’ own websites according to their branding and design specifications. Web-based payment systems process payments in real time, with users immediately receiving customized email responses and payment receipts.
3. MOBILE PAYMENT SOLUTIONS
Mobile payment solutions are used to remit payments via smartphone or tablet. Consumers like this option because they can send their payments from anywhere (i.e., home, work, or on the go), no matter the time of day or night. Some mobile payment solutions add another level of convenience by eliminating the need for consumers to find out the amount of their bill. Instead, consumers receive an electronic invoice.
Upon opening the invoice, recipients are instantly and automatically directed to a mobile payment site or app. To complete the transaction–which is a quick and painless process-consumers simply enter their payment information or use stored details from previous payments.
4. TEXT-BASED SOLUTIONS
There are two types of text-based payment solutions: systems or services consumers can utilize to send payments via text (short messaging service, or SMS) and systems or services that allow them to pay bills and receive payment reminders by text. Under the first umbrella, mobile payment providers act as “middlemen” for all transactions. Consumers pay for merchandise or services by sending a text message to their particular mobile phone service provider, which clears the transaction. The amount owed is either added to individuals’ monthly mobile phone bill or deducted from a prepaid balance held by their mobile phone operator.
The other type of text-based systems are for use by customers who receive bills on a recurring basis–for example, bills from utility management companies, property management companies, insurance companies, financial lenders, “rent-to-own” retailers, and the like. Consumers sign up to “pay by text” and provide their bank account information to the creditor, which stores this information in a secure system maintained by its payment solutions provider. With some systems, consumers enjoy an added layer of security from a personalized PIN that must be entered before payments can be made.
Consumers receive a reminder before every bill is due. Once they are ready to make a payment, they can initiate that payment whenever they like via return text, using their PIN number if they have one. Some systems allow consumers to choose not to make payments by text, but rather, to sign up to receive only reminders that bills are due.
5. ELECTRONIC BILLING PRESENTMENT AND PAYMENT
Electronic billing presentment and payment services permit consumers to receive their bills–for instance, utility bills–electronically, as well as to “opt in” (enroll) to view their bills and make payments online. Customers who enroll in EBPP receive an email that their bill is ready to be viewed and can take a look at it right away; no more waiting for the bill to arrive in the mail or worrying about it being lost. With the COVID-19 pandemic causing concern among many consumers about touching and opening physical (paper) mail, EBPP may be a particularly appealing solution for merchants to consider.
E-Complish offers a range of electronic payment solutions. To learn more or schedule a consultation, click here.