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Supporting numerous channels and evolving methods while staying relevant in today’s real- time mobile environment has become a strategic imperative for today’s billers. Multiple point solutions have made managing partners and integration difficult. Reliance on CIS platform user interface tools and legacy platforms have provided headwinds in this rapidly changing environment. Nimble partners that provide integration tool kits and service layers in a consolidated solution set becomes critical in meeting your customer service needs.

 

  • What if your internal technology and operational teams did not have to struggle to keep legacy billing systems relevant in today’s rapidly changing real-time and mobile environment?
  • What if through a single connection you could reach all of your client demographics – mobile, e-bill, cash payers, late payers, scheduled payers, automatic payers?
  • What if you could introduce multi-channel e-notice solutions (statements, disclosures, alerts, reminders) that are not only intuitive, but lead to e-adoption and paper turn-off?
  • What if you could support every payment method – through every payment channel – and not have to keep up with payment compliance and security standards?
  • What if you could do this without disruption to your internal accounting and billing systems – with minimal on-going technology support?

 

Historical evolution

Billing and payment processing has slowly evolved over the last two decades – from IVR-based telephone payment automation to the evolution of the internet – first as a separate payment portal, then as part of the customer service portal. Self-service became a table-stakes requirement.

Web portals and e-mail channels energized attempts to shift to e-bills and eliminate paper – with limited success. Communication channels expanded to e-mail, then text, now interactive sessions and alert tools within mobile devices.

The debate about accepting card payments is long over, as debit cards and pre-paid debit cards (reloadable/payroll cards and gift cards) has all but replaced the checkbook. Now person-to- person, Facebook cash, virtual currencies are gaining adoption.

All things “internet” has evolved to mobile applications – from smart phones to tablets – as millennials have not only replaced their landline telephones with mobile phones, but many are now totally reliant on mobile-based tools (smart phones and tablets) to connect to the internet for all aspects of usage – from video content to gaming to shopping to mundane tasks such as paying bills.

Adoption of smart applications for mobile devices (APPS) has significantly slowed – with the only winners being “daily usage” type apps like Google Maps, weather apps, banking apps,

game apps, and some everyday spend retail apps like Starbucks. However, solutions that use the native device applications and that adopt the presentation to the device overcomes the need for a separate app. For example, an e-bill or e-alert sent via text message or to the wallet function of a smart phone – embedded with a simple link from the alert to a payment authorization page leveraging payment credentials stored in the wallet – provides a simple, intuitive and relevant solution for the consumer.

         

Meanwhile all existing channels and methods remain — IVR usage remains constant, check- lockbox payments (while in a steady decline) remain, recurring payment growth has flattened, bank bill payment growth is relatively flat, and adoption of web payments continue to grow, fueled by mobile device adoption. And while in-person cash payments have begun to shift to pre-paid card usage these volumes remain. New “methods” are on the horizon as well – although many use the underlying payment networks, the ability to integrate with new interfaces (like P2P networks) becomes crucial.

Consumer expectations and demands require that all information is current and reflects that moment-in-time’s status – including instant visibility of their payment …. so, static bills or delayed posting falls way short of expectations.

As billers expand their presentment and payment capabilities, many times this results in redundant connections and integrations – some real-time, some batch. Research on payments also becomes complicated as numerous channels must be searched.

 

Objectives for the Future

While many core CIS platforms and legacy billing and service applications are built on older technology stacks, creating the nimbleness required for the emerging channels and methods becomes a significant challenge. Then continuing to evolve to these fast changing environments further complicates the task.

Add to this the evolution of the core payment processing environment – not only encumbered with rapidly changing regulatory and compliance burdens, but emerging into new payment

networks (like virtual currencies) and authorization processes (like Facebook Money or Amazon Pay) and the integration challenges and investment continues.

Partnering with a competent payments-based technology company with a current open and configurable technology environment allows for the development of common remittance routines that support your internal core billing/remittance, accounting and customer functions while leveraging the best practices and capabilities of a payments expert.

 

Introducing Clearwater Payments

As a secure, cloud-based electronic payment provider, Clearwater Payments was designed from the bottom-up to deliver a simple and relevant solution set to keep billers on the forefront of consumer expectations while supporting legacy channels and increasing e-channel adoption to reduce costs.

Our fresh technology stack provides API’s and toolkits to support embedding deep within your customer service platforms including single sign-on integration while also supporting application level service components. A rules-based payments engine allows us to customize your consumer experience while our multi-channel and multi-method solution set includes tools to streamline integration into your CIS platform while providing tools for your staff to research payment data and status across all channels and methods. Backed by a fully PCI- certified platform that employs leading edge security and state-of-the-art fraud detection tools.

To learn more about how Clearwater Payments can help you transform your billing and payment functionality, please click here to request a demo of our capabilities.