Are Text Payments the Next Big Thing?

Four out of five adults are texting; you can bet that most of your customers are among them.

Let’s think about it for a moment: If you’re looking to get in touch with someone quickly, what’s the first way you contact them? I guarantee it’s not with a pen and paper, and probably not even an email.

More than likely, you just pick up your mobile phone and send them a quick text message. It’s fast, simple, and best of all, you don’t have to waste time with an awkward or prolonged phone call.

According to Pew Research Center, as of May 2013, over 81% of adults actively send and receive text messages. That’s right, 4 out of 5 adults are texting. You can bet that most of your customers are among them!

But what about actually making a payment with a text message?

It may not be as far-fetched as it seems.

Imagine you get a text message from your electric company or your wireless provider with your monthly balance and due date. Along with that information is an option to respond “Pay”, allowing you to instantly pay your bill from whatever credit card, debit card, or bank account information you have securely stored on file. Pretty ingenious … and definitely convenient.

Convenience is everything to consumers today. Now with Generation Y venturing out on their own and receiving their own “bills,” it is more important than ever for billers to pay attention to mobile and text.

Consumers are looking for more ways to pay bills

Gen Y has high expectations for the latest in technology. They are looking for the easiest ways to make a quick payment. Research has shown they don’t always pay on the same date every month or even by the same method. A Fiserv billing survey found that bill payers between the ages of 21 and 35 prefer at least 3 or 4 payment options. By adding text payments to already established IVR, mobile, and online payment channels, billers should be able to reach more customers.

Text payments get even more interesting when you think about customers on “Pre Pay” plans, since they can be notified to refill their services (e.g., wireless minutes) before they run out. A utility could even use a Pre-Pay program instead of requiring security deposits for poor credit (high risk) customers, and text payments would most certainly be an essential part of such a program.

So will text payments be the next big thing?

It’s very possible. With so many adults actively texting today, text payments could be a sleeping giant. Text payments are easy to get set up, making it a very viable, low-risk, high-convenience way for billers to reach a lot of customers.

John Schott

Vice President

With more than 20 years of experience, John has worked with hundreds of billing organizations across North America. John is an expert in usability and is a frequent speaker on the topic of paperless billing and electronic payment best practices, including strategies for customer adoption, security and compliance, staff productivity, and process and technology optimization.