Have you ever heard of an ATM? This question has an obvious answer and you are likely considering stopping here because the question seems to insult your intellect, but in 1969 ATM’s were not a piece of the fabric of daily life. In fact, this is the year that the first ATM is introduced at Chemical Bank in Rockville Center in New York (History).
Since then, the machines have become a national staple and are expected to be available at every bank, convenience store, and grocery location in the U.S. Just as this automated transaction has revolutionized the banking industry, there is a similar service on the horizon for utility companies.
Self-service bill payment kiosks, essentially a reverse ATM, have increased in popularity among utility companies in the recent years. With a large portion of utility customers still preferring to pay their bills in person, utility organizations are adopting technological advances to increase the convenience of paying bills in-person. With influxes in payment traffic during peak billing periods, companies mitigate long lines with these ATM-like bill pay kiosks, expediting the process for customers and freeing up the customer service line at offices.
The landscape of the industry for electric, gas, water, cooperative, and telecommunication companies is on the cusp of widespread adoption of bill payment kiosks. With multiple groups making the move to kiosks, one could forecast that the primary method of in-person bill payment will transition to a primarily self-service method. Adopters of the machines are experiencing faster posting times, an expanded payment footprint, faster money, and reduced costs.
The Prepaid Progression
Benefits of launching a Prepaid Program.
Another hot-button item on the 2018-2019 agenda for many electricity providers is prepaid electricity. Eliminating bad debt, avoiding disconnects and reconnects, and providing customers in arrears a plan to be current on their bill are all benefits with the prepaid electric model. This is a paradigm shift for customers, because the monthly bill is gone, the past due balances are no more; prepaid customers take a more engaged approach to the way they manage their electric service.
Companies indicate that customers are more aware of their account balance, increasing conscientious decisions and psychologically transferring the perceived management of the account from the provider to the customer.
Real-time payment processing is a must for prepaid programs. Customers expect convenience in payment options, especially for in-person methods, because the nature of prepaid is attractive to primarily cash-paying customers. When the power shuts off, customers expect to be able to run to the corner store, make a payment, and by the time they return, their lights are back on.
What you need to know.
Bill payment kiosks are the perfect compliment to your prepaid program.
Planning a prepaid program is an involved process, but has proven benefits both for the organization and the consumer. A complimentary service for your prepaid adopters are bill payment kiosks, with a critical function being real-time payment posting. Advanced Metering Infrastructure deployment followed by launching a prepaid program involves many moving parts. Finding a kiosk provider that can tie into what your plans are and manage a turn-key payment network allows you to focus on serving customers.
Learn more about how Prepaid + Bill Payment Kiosks = The Perfect Fit
First ATM opens for business – Sep 02, 1969 – HISTORY.com. (02, September). Retrieved from http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/first-atm-opens-for-business