For Consumer Finance Companies, Changing Demographics Means Changing Payment Methods

While consumer finance companies have made great strides in shifting to paperless billing, the primary driving factor was the cost savings achieved from increased operational efficiencies and a more streamlined process to speed up the time to revenue equation. As a result of driving consumers online to pay and schedule payments, electronic bill payment and presentment (EBPP) is becoming a consumer touchpoint to cross-sell, up-sell and for general marketing and communications.

For a growing demographic base, a baseline EBBP solution is critical as this demographic group (Millennials, Gen X, Gen Z) will only pay bills online and/or via mobile apps. From e-Bill adoption to digitalization of payments, consumers are in the driver’s seat with how they make and schedule payments with financial services providers.

In addition to providing online and mobile bill presentment to this growing demographic group, enabling their payment method of choice is equally as important. Because Debit is outpacing ACH for this demographic, it’s necessary for consumer finance companies to offer Debit cards as an alternative to ACH, checks and Cash as part of their EBBP solution in order to capture payments the way that their customers want to pay.

While card acceptance has been traditionally perceived as a high cost medium for Consumer Finance businesses to undertake, new rules shaped by Visa’s Debit Acceptance opportunity are now in effect. These rules which have significantly reduced the cost for using a Debit card for debt repayment is a viable alternative to ACH and Check.

In fact, Visa stated in a report within the last year that 31 percent of consumers use Debit cards to pay at least one bill per month and the only reason checks were still used is because it was the only form of payment method accepted. To enable the shift to card acceptance, Consumer Finance companies need to understand that when consumers do have multiple ways to pay a bill, they are more than likely to pay their bills ahead of time using the payment method that best suits their needs.

For this growing demographic, the payment method of choice is Debit. By offering Debit acceptance, consumers find value in having their available balance reflected immediately while providing for greater transparency between their disposable income and outstanding debt.

It is important to keep in mind that consumers have different payment preferences, therefore it is a good idea to offer multiple ways of payment acceptance (debit, ACH, check and cash) across an omni-channel experience (web, mobile, IVR, call center, walk-in), but ultimately Debit acceptance can drive the cost savings as web and mobile channels become more prevalent.

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