A utility payment system allows consumers to make one-time or recurring payments. Customers can choose from a number of ways to pay, including online,
A utility payment system allows consumers to make one-time or recurring payments. Customers can choose from a number of ways to pay, including online, in-person at a kiosk or over the phone. Many people also appreciate the option to receive instant payment reminders, which can decrease late fees and increase chances that a utility bill will be paid on time.
As consumers shift their billing and payments activities to digital channels, it’s critical for utilities to offer these options. In fact, according to ACI Speedpay Pulse, online payments now make up 58 percent of one-time payments and 68 percent of recurring payments. A centralized system that provides a single point of entry for all utility payment transactions is essential to increasing convenience, improving customer service and creating business process efficiencies.
Electronic utility billing and payment systems help eliminate errors and reduce the cost of manual processing. For example, moving a paper utility bill from the vendor, through accounts payable, to a facilities energy manager, and then to a company sustainability office requires multiple databases, manual processes and data entry. Similarly, moving a monetary transaction from a check to the bank and then to the company accounting system requires double data entry and multiple systems. Using an electronic system eliminates these problems and increases productivity.
In addition to reducing costs and making payments easier, the right payment solution can improve customer retention by providing additional self-service tools. For example, an online portal with a mobile app can allow customers to access and track their payments in real-time and access advanced features such as payment schedules. The ability to view and download a PDF copy of an electronic bill also increases convenience.
Another way to provide additional convenience is by allowing customers to pay their utility bills through an integrated voice response system. This can give customers a clear, concise explanation of their account status, such as when the next payment is due and how much it will be. The system can even provide them with a secure payment link, which helps ensure their financial information remains safe.
An e-payment system that offers ACH payments can benefit utility companies by helping them grow their revenue. ACH payments use the Automated Clearing House network to transfer funds directly from the consumer’s bank account. Unlike credit card payments, which must be processed manually by the merchant, ACH payments are a secure and convenient method for paying a utility bill.
To enable ACH payments, you need to maintain the function ID ‘UPBAUINS’ as a mandatory batch program, using the ‘Mandatory Batch Program Maintenance’ screen. Each time the batch executes, the system fetches a set of utility bill payment instructions from an external system and posts them to the back-end system as a utility payment transaction. You also need to configure the ‘Utility Bill Payment Structure Definition’ screen to specify product for posting transactions. Once configured, when you input a transaction, Oracle FLEXCUBE automatically applies the accounting and charges specifications for the specified product to the transaction.