Electronic billing options continue to become mainstream as Americans increasingly abandon cash and paper checks in favor of online and mobile payments. It's not difficult to understand why. Electronic billing is affordable to businesses, more convenient to consumers and merchants, faster than paper checks, and better for the environment.
Yet despite these advantages, paper-based billing and check-writing remain permanent fixtures in American society. Roughly 50 percent of small businesses still pay employees with paper checks. An estimated 26 percent of consumers still use paper checks on a regular basis.
Why the slow adoption of electronic billing? Here are five of the barriers preventing some customers from saying good-bye to paper payments:
Paper billing is familiar. People understand how the process works. Except for the occasional misplaced invoice or check, there isn't a lot of hassle involved.
By contrast, many paper devotees are leery of credit cards, mobile payments and online transactions. They have security concerns and worry about how their financial data are stored. This trend is especially prevalent among senior citizens.
3. Lost Profitability
Because of the above, many businesses don't want to miss out on potential sales. When you rely exclusively on electronic billing, you forfeit the countless consumers (and suppliers) who:
- Don't have credit cards
- Don't use online banking
- Don't have computers
- Don't have smartphones
4. Hidden Financial Cost
Many businesses and consumers are unaware of the financial cost of sending, receiving and processing paper-based transactions. Companies often overlook the $4 to $20 in employee resources spent on each paper check within their system. Consumers often ignore the transactional cost of physically driving to banks and post offices to manage their expenses.
5. Hidden Environmental Cost
An even larger cost is the carbon footprint that every paper transaction leaves. Again, this environmental toll is largely hidden from view, and many businesses and consumers are unaware of how destructive paper billing truly is.
Overcoming These Electronic Billing Barriers
Experts estimate that paper checks will be around through 2026. Until Internet penetration in the United States reaches 100 percent, shopping will never become exclusively online or mobile.
In other words, paper billing will be around for a while, and you should consider making this option available to those who want it. But you can reduce some of the e-invoicing barriers by:
- Investing in greater security. Make sure your electronic billing and payments follow PCI-compliant standards. This can help attract those who have concerns about protecting sensitive financial data.
- Offering perks and discounts to customers who go completely paperless. If this is not an option, consider appealing to their eco conscience.
If you need additional help encouraging your customers to adopt electronic billing, speak with a BluePay team member about our recurring billing tools.