When those of us in the payments industry think about moving money, we think of the many points that distinguish money movement options – is it a transfer or a bill payment, will it utilize a card network or the ACH, will it be sent immediately or processed in a batch?
In contrast, for the average person, a payment is a payment. They don’t care if it’s P-to-P or B-to-B, they just want to pay who they want to pay, when they want to pay them.
Understanding this principal is essential to developing payment options that people will actually use. Consumers want payments at their fingertips, and they want the experience to be easy, convenient and fast, in step with the way they live today.
With both consumers and small businesses conducting more of their financial activities through digital channels, there is no better place to put this concept into action.
Historically, bill pay, person-person (P-to-P) payments and transfers have been accessed separately within online and mobile banking. This had led to some interesting anomalies. The Expectations & Experiences consumer trends survey from Fiserv found that bill pay is the most used online banking feature, used by 6 of every 10 online bankers within the 30 days prior to the survey. In contrast two out of five consumers did not even know if their financial institution offered P-to-P payments. Consumers repeatedly express interest in P2P payment options from their financial institution, but adoption and usage won’t grow if people don’t even know the service exists.
One of the best ways to enhance visibility of a service is to tie it to another, related service that already has high visibility. Integrating P-to-P and bill payments, for example, enables users to pay a person electronically right from the same place they already pay their bills. Now, person-to-person payments are not a separate experience, but simply another way to pay in a familiar setting.
In addition to boosting awareness and driving higher usage, integrating multiple money movement options can boost customer satisfaction and position financial institutions to compete with nontraditional financial providers. Unified payment capabilities give the customer what they want, when and where they want it, while increasing digital engagement through increased transactions and higher usage.
There is no silver bullet to drive adoption and usage of digital payment services, and while increasing awareness via integration has moved the needle for P-to-P adoption, consumers have also been clear on their need for speed. The Expectations & Experiences consumer trends study from Fiserv found that real-time delivery capabilities are the most sought after enhancement for both bill pay and P-to-P payments.
The consumer message about money movement and digital services is clear- they want what they want when they want it – and it’s up to financial institutions to deliver.
Justin Jackson is Vice President of Integrated Payment and Bill Payment at the Digital Banking Group at Fiserv.