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Activata’s Bill Guru offers flexible payment options

billguruThe Problem

There is a Company/Customer Divide where, most utility and service companies invoice monthly, yet this does not always suit the customer.

The Company

  • Issues invoice monthly
  • Provides numerous payment options, including automated payment from a credit card or bank account
  • Money orders and bill pay at NZ Post
  • Seeks payment in full
  • Spend many hours a month chasing payments (64% of businesses in the UK have their invoices paid late).

 The Customer

  • Around 30% of customer use payment methods not guaranteed to provide regular payments
  • Some pay late, at irregular intervals and are problematic requiring regular intervention
  • They are typically youth, immigrants, disorganised and the financially challenged
  • Wants to exit debt cycle but simply can’t manage large payments
  • Accustomed to spending using only available funds. They live in “weeks” not months. A single unplanned event or invoice can disrupt payment of all other non- prepay items

If a company has the ability to offer flexible payment options that suit the customer, they are more likely to meet their repayment commitments and remain good customers.

A Domestic ISP was experiencing a high degree of churn, losing customers unable to keep up with payments. They were also being contacted by customers who wished to use their services but had a bad credit rating.

To minimise the risks associated with offering the customer services on a monthly account, they thought it beneficial to be able to offer a flexible payment service.

The solution:

Bill Guru is Activata’s alternative payment solution

  • Allows utility and service providers to offer flexible payment solutions.
  • Customers can pay in small, frequent amounts anywhere in Activata’s network of 2,600+ convenience stores
  • Customers can pay at a time suitable to them using payment methods the store accepts including cash
  • Amounts paid are collected from retailers by Activata and remitted to billers.
  • Sends card holders prompt notifications of payments and funds received on a set schedule from retailers by Activata and remitted to billers.

The Domestic ISP selected customers and issued them with Bill Guru swipe cards. They could have access to services if they prepaid in small increments and could make payments at their local dairy or convenience store, outside of normal working hours.

Customers consisted of

  • Prepay customers previously with poor credit ratings or struggling to pay a monthly bill in full
  • Postpay customers. Of the 183 registered in 2012-2013, main payment methods were through NZ Post outlets (80%), by Cheque (7%) and Online (8%) includes direct debit, direct credit, transfer, buyline and Bill Guru (2%).

Results

Increased customer loyalty

On average, the life span of the customer tripled so they were retained for substantially longer.

Reduced costs and risk

Established and proven payment methods, guaranteed by the Activata payment system were used. This  resulted in reduced costs and risk. Customers had less bad debt and repaid 30% more of their bill.

Conclusion

Not all customers find it suitable to manage their bill payments on a monthly cycle. Bill Guru enables companies to offer their customers greater payment flexibility so they can choose a payment method that works for them and their cash flow.  It provides a win win situation where both the customer and company benefit.