An electronic bill presentment and payment (EBPP) platform is no longer a luxury for financial institutions. Business and consumers vastly prefer the convenience of electric payment methods, rendering EBPP platforms a must for banks to retain customers, compete for new clients and stay viable.
Fortunately, these platforms have extensive benefits for banks. EBPP platforms can expedite payments, create revenue opportunities, ensure accurate payment posting and allow for the consolidation of receivables and data.
Not all EBPP platforms are alike and not all can meet a financial institution’s specific needs. To provide a strategic advantage, an EBPP platform must meet the needs of a bank’s current and potential customers, particularly those in industries with unique payment demands. For instance, health care services may allow for payment plans or a collection agency may offer incentive pay that requires specific options. Other industries regularly add transaction fees to recoup costs for ACH or credit card payments, which also require specific capabilities. Not all solutions are flexible enough to handle the full range of customer needs.
The customizability of the platform is also important to note. Certain EBPP platforms are generic in their presentation, with a company logo as the only customization option. More robust platforms allow for extensive configurations that fully mesh with a company’s marketing and branding.
EBPP solutions can be built into integrated platforms that include other treasury services such as lockbox or remote deposit. This enables companies to accept payment in the forms most convenient for its payers, whether paper or electronic. Special attention should also be paid to how easily an EBPP platform integrates with existing accounting systems using APIs, QR codes and single sign-on.
An integrated EBPP platform incorporates extensive data collection to provide essential analytics and insight. A single platform is often ideal as data from varying receivables can be consolidated into single reports, allowing for a “one-stop shop” for thorough and cumulative data. These data points can be supplemented by select platforms that incorporate dashboards for customizable analytics and insight.
Other factors to consider include:
Securing an EBPP partner that specializes in working with financial institutions: Banks have unique risk and compliance demands that require an EBPP partner with expertise in FI-specific oversight. Always ask a potential EBPP partner to document its record of success in the industry and to provide copies of compliance certifications.
Understanding the levels of support an EBPP provider offers: Can the EBPP platform work as well for a business that issues thousands of invoices each month as it does for one that only issues a few dozen? Can it be configured to meet the needs of your customer in the healthcare industry as well as real estate? An EBPP partner must be able to consistently serve the markets vital to a bank’s strategic plan, and it must offer a flexible, configurable platform that is adaptable to market changes or new regulations.
Selecting an EBPP provider that is committed to helping a bank learn: An EBPP partner should provide more than a platform. Seek a partner that provides meaningful sales resources, including white-label marketing materials and training for the bank’s salespeople. Ask if they are willing to join the bank on sales calls during the early stages of the partnership and ensure that they will provide a dedicated resource to answer questions and provide support after initial sales.
As digital payment systems continue gaining steam, financial institutions must continually keep up with industry innovations, and utilizing an EBPP platform is an ideal solution to remain competitive.
EBPP platforms are seeing increased adoption by financial institutions because they provide greater revenue and data consolidation, additional receivables intake, and faster and more accurate payments receipt. As such, now may be the right time to consider an EBPP platform to help grow and retain your bank’s customer base and achieve other critical objectives.
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