For the last eight years, Fiserv, a global company in the financial services industry, publishes an Annual Billing Household Survey. This survey reports trends in how consumers receive and pay their bills.

Past blog posts referenced this survey in 2013 and 2015. The Eighth Annual Billing Household Survey is now available and this issue will highlight a few statistics from it.

Customers want choices

Page 20 of the report highlights how offering different billing and payment options impact customer satisfaction.

Multiple payment options

Almost as if it were written for the audience of this blog, consider this quote on page 21 of the report:

“The expectation of multiple payment options does not vary depending on the type of biller. In fact, consumers expect a local utility to provide the same options as a national wireless carrier or cable provider.”

As the report shows, 79% of customers expect your utility to provide the same options as much larger national companies.

Preferred payment options

According to the survey respondents, as shown on page 8 of the report, the majority of online households prefer to pay their bill at your website, ahead of paying by check. In third place is paying the bill online at the customer’s financial institution website:

“Between the Seventh and Eighth Annual Billing Household Surveys, there was a 72 percent increase in consumers making payments at both biller and financial institution websites. Paying bills at a financial institution’s site also grew significantly by 55 percent.”

Clearly, the trend is toward paying bills online, whether that is your website or the customer’s financial institution’s website. The next Utility Information Pipeline issue will deal with automating payments made by your customers using their bank’s online bill pay.

Paperless billing

The final statistic I want to highlight is how important paperless billing is becoming to customers. On page 14 of the report, it shows that 79% of households receive some of their bills electronically, and 25% receive all bills electronically.

In addition, only 22% have no interest in going paperless! Clearly, paperless billing is the way of the future.