Posted by Tiffany Taylor and Alison Arthur on 20 Apr 2021
Small businesses are a driving force in the U.S. economy. They employ 47.1% of private workers and, despite the pandemic, created 1.6 million new jobs in 2020. But failure rates for small businesses can be high, and lack of cash flow is often a contributing factor. For small businesses that rely on a steady stream of income from bill payments, an electronic bill presentment and payment (EBPP) solution can be a powerful tool to help keep this revenue flowing. And, in the face of the “new normal” and increasing consumer demand for contactless everything, it can be a competitive differentiator.
Despite smaller staff and budgets, small businesses can benefit from big-minded solutions – including EBPP solutions – that serve some of the largest enterprises in the country. How can an EBPP solution help small businesses collect on-time payments and streamline operations? Here are five ways EBPP can help small businesses think big.
Issuing paper bills and accepting payments via cash or check might seem like the least expensive options for collecting bill payments. But the reality is that recording cash payments can be time-consuming and prone to error. And, as stated earlier, there is an increasing demand for contactless billing and payments. Additionally, bounced checks can create collection time lags and other operational challenges that might be difficult for small businesses to control.
Accepting a wide variety of payment methods can help small businesses encourage on-time payments by giving customers the choices they’re looking for. While card payments do have fees associated with them, small businesses can work with their payments providers to establish pricing models that help make these expenses more predictable.
Fueled by increased consumer comfort, demand for contactless payments, better technology, and other factors, mobile payments adoption has been increasing exponentially in recent years and is predicted to grow to in excess of $130 billion in 2020—up from $69.8 billion in 2018. The good news is mobile payment offerings aren’t just something that large organizations can offer. An EBPP solution can empower small businesses to accept bill payments on the mobile devices that customers use most, making these transactions quicker and more seamless than ever.
Small businesses might balk at the idea of a long and cumbersome implementation process for an EBPP solution. Forward-thinking EBPP providers can offer an out-of-the-box solution that’s designed specifically for small businesses. This means shorter implementation times that enable small businesses to begin accepting electronic bill payments in no time flat.
Reminding customers about account balances and upcoming due dates might not be possible without the help of technology. An EBPP solution can automate these processes by sending reminders via email and text messages on the business’s behalf. Doing so can prompt customers to make on-time payments and keep revenue arriving on time.
Payments are evolving rapidly, and customers want to take advantage of the latest technology. Chatbots powered by artificial intelligence (AI) are facilitating text-based payments (via messaging apps) and voice payments (via intelligent personal assistants). Considering that 29% of small and medium-sized businesses have implemented AI, the right EBPP solution can offer small businesses the latest technology of today and help them quickly adapt to the emerging trends of tomorrow to remain relevant.
The Bottom Line: Easy, flexible, and forward-thinking bill payment experiences aren’t just for large enterprises. Small businesses can also take advantage of these benefits by partnering with an EBPP provider built to serve the needs of today and position them for success in the future.
Learn how businesses are using real-time payments to access cash faster and increase employee satisfaction in Realizing the Value of Real-Time Payments for Credit Unions.
*This is an update on an original post published August 2018
Alacriti’s Orbipay EBPP is a customizable electronic billing and payments solution for businesses and financial institutions of all sizes. Ella is an AI-powered chatbot that facilitates seamless, personalized, and context-aware interactions between you and your customers through messaging apps, intelligent personal assistants, and directly on your website. For more information, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.