The utility industry has been digitizing payment processes for many years. When the pandemic hit in early 2020, the pace picked up as businesses sought out the efficiencies and cost reductions available through digitalization.

Yet these companies have the opportunity to convert more customers to digital payments. By doing so, they can achieve even greater efficiencies and higher levels of customer satisfaction.

More than half of billing executives consider it very or extremely important to improve their company’s billing and payment capabilities, according to “The Digital Payments Edge,” a collaboration between PYMNTS and ACI Worldwide based on a survey of 100 utility billing and payment managers.

Get the report: The advantage of digital payments

Fifty-eight percent of executives consider it very or extremely important to improve their current digital invoicing capabilities. Another 35% consider it moderately important.

Similarly, 53% of leaders consider it very or extremely important to improve their current digital payment capabilities, and an additional 33% consider it moderately important.

Figure 1A

Digitization of the business environment is the most cited related factor that they consider essential to help drive industry growth in the future. In fact, 55% of billing executives say it’s a factor.

Lower shares of billing executives highlighted each of the other four factors, 16% citing interest, currency and inflation rates, 13% citing consumer purchasing power, 13% citing competitive pressure and 4% citing the regulatory environment.

Figure 1B

Continuing to improve efficiency means utility companies will need to continue investing in these payment options and better digital customer experiences to drive platform usage.

Digitized payment platforms are integral to customer satisfaction, and customers expect these platforms to deliver other benefits, such as speeding up the payment process and bill collection. The expected benefits may explain why more than half of utility companies are investing or planning to invest in digitized payment platforms.

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NEW PYMNTS DATA: THE TRUTH ABOUT BNPL AND STORED CARDS – APRIL 2022

On: Shoppers who have store cards use them for 87% of all eligible purchases – but that doesn’t mean retailers should start buy now, pay later (BNPL) options at checkout. The Truth About BNPL and Store Cards, a collaboration between PYMNTS and PayPal, surveys 2,161 consumers to find out why providing both BNPL and Store Cards is key to helping merchants maximize conversion.