In the know

The 2011 BPAY Usage and Attitude Study

In 2011 BPAY continued its study into consumer behaviours and attitudes around payments and bill payments – known as the Usage and Attitude (U&A) study.

The 2011 study surveyed approximately 1,000 people aged between 16 and 75. With the study now in its 10th year this means that BPAY has spoken to over 10,000 people over the last decade. The study is a valuable tool as it provides key business insights into the consumer payments market and enables the tracking of long term trends.

This year some really interesting themes have emerged:

1. The financial environment

As might be expected given the global economy’s slow recovery from the GFC, the 2011 study revealed that around 40% of our bill paying consumers are "more concerned" about their finances than they were a year ago.

This concern has been reflected in people’s spending habits, with a marked decline in credit card usage and a corresponding increase in the use of cash and debit cards for paying bills. Cash use nearly doubled when compared to 2010. We have not seen a trend change of this size in the use of cash over the last 6 years.

2. BPAY’s performance

A key measure of BPAY’s performance is the level of brand awareness amongst our target market. In 2011, BPAY maintained an impressive awareness level of 90%.

Payment volume growth is a primary objective for the BPAY Scheme. A key driver of higher payment volume is the frequency of an individual’s use of a payment method. BPAY is the most frequently used payment method, beating electronic funds transfer and direct debit. Some 31% of consumers are using BPAY weekly.

Another key measure is an individual’s ‘share of bills’. This measures what proportion of the total number of bills an individual receives is paid using each payment method. In 2011, BPAY’s ‘share of bills’ remained higher than any other payment method at 36%.

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3. BPAY on the move

One of the most interesting trends uncovered by the research is the increase in the number of people paying bills via mobile phones and tablets. In 2011, the proportion of people paying a bill via BPAY on one of these devices more than tripled when compared to the previous year (16% vs 5%). There was also an increase in awareness in the ability to make BPAY payments on a mobile device. Importantly 28% of consumers would consider using their mobiles to make BPAY payments in future.

This trend is likely to continue into 2012 and could fundamentally change consumer payments behaviour over the next couple of years.

4. Attributes

The U&A tracks the attributes consumers think are most important when choosing a payment method.

BPAY leads all other payment methods on the ten attributes that customers ranked as most important (Security, Free to use, Easy to use, Convenient, Reliable, Fast, Allows me to pay my bills in one place, Meets my needs, Requires least amount of ongoing effort, Puts me in control of my payments).

BPAY has always ranked strongly on the convenience and ease measures, so this year we decided to explore what these terms actually mean to individuals. The chart below illustrates what consumers mean when they say a payment method is easy or convenient.

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5. Electronic presentment – BPAY View

The U&A research also looked at users’ attitudes to and experience of BPAY View. It found that over half (52%) of consumers would consider using an electronic presentment service in the future for bills, statements and annual reports. There is definitely an appetite in the Australian market to move to electronic presentment. The chart below shows the split of consideration levels by document type among consumers who currently do not receive information electronically.

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Take-up of electronic bill presentment is likely to be boosted by the increasing number of companies that charge a surcharge on paper bills. According to this study, one in four consumers have incurred a surcharge for receiving a paper bill and nearly 50% of those say it makes them more likely to move to electronic billing in the future.

Specifically looking at BPAY View performance, 90% of current BPAY View users said they would re-register for BPAY View if they changed banks which is a positive result.

If you are interested in further details about the BPAY Usage and Attitude study, please contact your Financial Institution or contact us at marketing@bpay.com.au.

Paying Attention

How one of Australia’s leading education companies saves time and money with BPAY

Modern Teaching Aids sells over 10,000 different kinds of teaching resource products to Early Childhood, Primary and Secondary Schools. It is also the largest privately owned distributor of toys in Australia and New Zealand. In October 2011, the company worked with BPAY marketing to run a promotion designed to increase the percentage of their invoices paid by BPAY.

The campaign was both simple and cost-effective, involving the despatch of some 8,000 fliers to Modern Teaching Aids’ client base of schools and childcare centres. According to Finance Director, Rob Davis, the campaign is already delivering results. "Before we ran the campaign BPAY represented 5.5% of all receipts. In November it was at 6.4% and December at 7.3%. That’s a real increase in BPAY use of over 30%."

Rob says the impetus for a big BPAY push came from his credit team. The cheque payments they receive need to be opened and allocated to the account during the course of the working day, while EFTs also need to be sorted and matched to accounts.

"The story from our credit team was about how much they love it when customers pay using BPAY. With BPAY, funds are allocated to the customers’ accounts by our ERP system before we walk in the door in the morning. BPAY is a really good payment method for us – faster than cheques and more efficient than EFTs. It means our credit staff spend their day working on their customer list rather than allocating payments", says Rob.

Rob Davis says that his customers also find the experience of using BPAY far more appealing. "Since the campaign we’ve had some interesting conversations with our customers. They love the reliability of the BPAY payment method and the security of knowing that the funds are being allocated directly to the right account – that’s especially important if they’re paying big bills. It’s just a nice, simple, secure payment option for them."

We asked Rob Davis what his medium and long-term objectives for BPAY use are. "In the medium term I’d like us to get to 10%. There will always be big institutions that stick to their traditional methods. But in the long run I’d like to see our BPAY numbers up at 30-40% - I don’t see any reason why we can’t get there."

Taking a different Point of View

BPAY View is on mobile banking

BPAY’s electronic presentment service, BPAY View, was launched with a mere 2,000 registrations in its first month. Today there are over 2.5 million registrations to receive bills, statements and documents electronically.

As we progress into a mobile and cashless age we find that a growing number of Member Financial Institutions have taken a different approach in their BPAY View service offer to their clients. Suncorp bank is a prime example.

Suncorp was the first Financial Institution in Australia to offer mobile banking launching its platform in 2008. BPAY was considered an integral component of the mobile service and was offered as part of the initial platform launch.

Following customer demand and the proliferation of smart phones providing the ability to view images, Suncorp launched BPAY View on their mobile platform in 2009, the first Financial Institution to do so.

The BPAY View features on Suncorp’s mobile banking platform allow users to:

  • view the summary details of their bills;
  • download PDFs of their detailed bills; and
  • choose to 'Pay Now' via BPAY.

Simon Clarke, Internet/Mobile Banking Specialist, of Suncorp believes that BPAY View is an important value add to their clients. "BPAY View offers the convenience of paperless banking. Clients don’t lose track of their bills, as they can be accessed from one secure location with emails and alerts set in place as reminders" says Simon.

With time being a major factor in our lives, the prevalence of mobile banking is becoming increasingly popular. "We now have just under a third of Suncorp’s internet banking customers using mobile banking, a number that has increased significantly over the last 12 months when compared to just seven percent growth two years ago," says Simon.

And if you thought that age was a factor when it comes to mobile banking and is something for tech savvy teenagers, you may be surprised "we recently identified an 84 year old man who owns an iPhone and enjoys paying his bills on the go" says Simon.

According to Simon, "Bill payment and transfers remain the most popular mobile transactions for both personal and business customers. BPAY makes bill payment as simple as possible and will continue to be seen as an integral part of our mobile banking service".

SME Case Study

B&M’s Pave N Drain

A flood of requests from customers who wanted to pay their invoice with a credit card was the key reason why Perth-based paving and drainage business B&M’s Pave N Drain started offering BPAY as a payment option to customers over a year ago.

After exploring the processes and costs associated with offering credit card payments with her bank, director Susan Barker decided a much better solution would be to offer BPAY as a payment option to customers.

Barker says "we decided it was easier, cheaper and simpler from an administration perspective to offer BPAY as a payment solution. Compared to other payment methods it’s very easy to identify in our banking records which payment matches which invoice when a customer uses BPAY to pay us."

"It means I no longer have to play detective when a payment comes in, deciding which invoice it belongs to," she adds.

In terms of setting up BPAY as a payment option for customers, Barker says "my bank account manager assisted us the whole way through the process. He completed all the application forms and after we’d submitted the application, we were approved within two weeks."

As soon as Barker received the approval to start offering BPAY as a payment option, she downloaded the customer reference number (CRN) tool software, which has allowed her to create customer reference numbers based on the invoice number.

"My husband, who also works in the business, likes to be very hands on when it comes to invoicing. He handwrites invoices, which include my contact details so customers can contact me for their BPAY reference number if they wish to use BPAY to pay their invoice," she says explaining that between 35 per cent and 50 per cent of all invoices are now paid with BPAY.

Barker says BPAY is easier to administer than electronic funds transfer because there’s no confusion about which invoice a payment relates to. "With EFT, people often just put ‘paving’ in as the payment description, assuming they are the only ones to use this term. But we do lots of small jobs and have two or three teams on the road at any time, and we charge a standard installation fee for many jobs. This can be a nightmare to administer when people use ‘paving’ as the description of their account when paying their invoice. With BPAY, it’s immediately obvious which job the payment relates to. It’s foolproof."

"Dealing with BPAY has been an absolute pleasure. It’s made administration a lot less stressful, is cost-effective and keeps customers happy, so it ticks all boxes," she says.

BPAY Operational Tips

Right-sizing - why the Master Biller-Sub Biller arrangement works for everyone

BPAY continues to grow, with more than 44,000 companies (comprised of Billers and Sub Billers) now offering the service. "One of the important factors in BPAY’s growth is the way it serves businesses of varying sizes equally well," says Keith Brown, General Manager Business Services at BPAY. According to Keith there are now a total of 90 Master Billers who act on behalf of over 22,000 Sub Billers. "That means that many smaller companies can offer the BPAY option to their customers – giving them big company convenience."

Understanding the Master Biller-Sub Biller arrangement

The Master Biller / Sub-Biller structure was put in place in 2002. It allows Members and Billers to use an agency-like arrangement to provide the BPAY service for Billers too small to warrant their own Biller Code.

The Master Biller manages the payments on behalf of the sub-Billers.

What makes this process worthwhile is that the smaller businesses get to put the BPAY logo on their invoices. It means that their receipts are cleared funds and they do not have the hassle of cheque dishonours, charge backs and returns. "The Sub Biller option has two crucial advantages for small businesses," says Keith. "Two of their biggest concerns are cash flow and record-keeping. With BPAY they get accurate payment reporting and an end to "the cheque is in the mail".

The Master Biller-Sub Biller arrangement works particularly well for businesses that might have one brand but deliver their goods or services though multiple operators or franchisees. This includes travel agents, real estate agents and many small branded retailers. It also works well for companies that have frequent payments from many sources, such as strata and rental companies. A number of not-for-profit organisations and some schools and universities also use the Master Biller-Sub Biller structure.

Getting on a growth path

Indeed, while many small operators remain in the Master Biller-Sub Biller arrangement over a long period, some quickly get used to the BPAY service and decide to become a regular BPAY Biller as their payment volumes increase.

If you’re a BPAY biller and interested in becoming a Master Biller and would like to get more specific information, please contact your financial institution or call the BPAY office on 1800 146 201.

BPAY wins Midas Award

BPAY campaign a hit with the young – and advertising judges

In January 2011, BPAY ran a campaign to spread awareness of the Scheme amongst Gen Y. The good news is that it wasn’t just our Gen Y customers who were impressed by the campaign.

In addition to achieving all the awareness targets set for it, the campaign was also a hit with some heavyweight global marketing experts, winning a Silver Ingot award in the Digital + Interactive' section of the 'Electronic Banking' category of the Midas Awards.

The Midas Awards "recognize excellence in financial advertising and marketing". In winning this award BPAY was competing with entries from 31 countries!

The campaign asked Members of Gen Y to submit a love poem, short story, recipe or film synopsis of no more than 120 characters via Twitter, SMS or the web.

The campaign is also nominated for "Best Integrated Campaign" at the John Caples International 2011 awards. These awards honour the best creative work in direct and interactive marketing from around the world. The winners will be announced in New York in March and we will make sure you hear about it if we win. We may even publish the results in 120 characters
or less!