The Past, Present, and Future of eBilling
Urjanet Inc | July 10, 2017 | Data & Technology
Since the inception of eBilling services in the early 2000s, these systems have rapidly expanded in the marketplace. Accumulating corporate and individual consumer data, eBilling diminishes the need for paper bills. Consumers and companies can more easily access data, meet payment deadlines, and track their spending. eBilling has been praised for its environmental and time-conserving benefits. As the technology reaches younger generations, companies move exclusively into online billing, leaving traditional paper billing practices behind.
A Chronology of eBilling Development
Though mainstream now, the introduction of eBilling was originally not well received. In the mid-1990s, most businesses and households did not receive consistent Internet traffic, at least not enough to conduct business primarily online. The reception of the new technology was slow and hesitant; most corporations and consumers preferred reliable and consistent paper billing processes. In the early 2000s, however, corporations began to invest in eBilling technology. Websites and applications were made more accessible, easier to use, and more convenient for the average consumer. Prevalence of eBilling software increased as Internet became more available in households and mobile devices, allowing consumers and businesses to access data remotely. As businesses favor eBilling to mail correspondence, the software is now commonplace.
The Market Advantage
Electronic billing systems have been transformative in the marketplace. Mailed payment processes are demanding in time, cost, and labor. Overwhelmed administrative teams spent hours sifting through individual client data, wasting company time and resources. The implementation of electronic billing systems centralizes consumer data, allowing companies and consumers to receive billing and transaction data more readily. Resources utilized during mailing payment processing is repurposed, allowing the company more flexibility with added convenience. Offering “sweeteners” to entice clients in the movement to eBilling, companies ensure the shift gains traction.
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For consumers, the shift has been equally beneficial. Consumers can now pay multiple bills in a centralized location, doing away with the clutter of mailed bills. Payments are made more efficiently and directly without the delay of mail delivery. Saving money in potential late fees, customers enjoy the transparency and convenience of electronic billing.
The Conversion Process
Though most consumers and businesses have greeted the shift enthusiastically, a core consumer set actively resists changes in billing. For the senior population, the shift to online payment has been unnerving and confusing. After years of paying mailed bills, the senior population combats new changes in company payment policy. Many systems remain complicated and inaccessible for the elderly, complicating their payment processes. Others choose to use mailed payments as habit or principle.
In response to the strong senior resistance, corporation have several transition strategies in place. Companies have adopted a “push” strategy; instead of enticing people to get on online payment plans with incentives, they force their base to get on board. Incorporating stringent policies, many companies require that their consumers move to eBilling within a certain timeframe. Others will complete the process for their clients, only allowing them access to their information through the online portal; certain companies even charge a premium to those who mail their bills. The “push” into the new system has proved more effective for businesses, giving their clientele little choice in moving forward.
The Industry Trajectory
eBilling is set to become marketplace standard. With the expansion of the Internet in use and accessibility, companies continually move away from mail to communicate with consumers. Effectively and efficiently executing transactions, computerized payment systems are the most effective marketplace option. Though some older paper billing systems are utilized by corporations, the practice has greatly diminished. As companies eliminate paper billing entirely, eBilling will become the way of the future.
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About Urjanet Inc
Urjanet, the global leader in utility data aggregation, simplifies how organizations access and use utility data, enabling them to focus on their business. Our technology collects, processes, and delivers data from over 6,500 electric, natural gas, water, waste, telecom, and cable utilities worldwide.