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You could be paying your bills in seconds, not days

Gone are the days you’d have to wait 2-3 business days for payments from a friend with a different banking institution to come through to your account.

Since its official launch to the public in February, the New Payments Platform (NPP) has revolutionised payments between Australians by making transactions near-instant and more seamless. By using your mobile number or email address as your unique PayID, no longer do you need to rattle off your account number and BSB.

The NPP also presents a “vast opportunity” to be a game-changer for the way bills are paid and processed too, according to a whitepaper by KPMG and the Commonwealth Bank of Australia.

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“For utilities customers, this translates to an expectation of seamless payment options, no ‘bill shock’, no unnecessary ‘overdue’ notices, no misdirected funds, no utility connection time lags after payment, and no lost payments,” the report said.

Given that the bulk of calls to contact centres of utilities companies are about payments, the platform could represent a “step change” for customers, said KPMG national sector leader, power & utilities Cassandra Hogan.

“We need to ask, what can be done to support utilities and their customers to interact better, to assist in making the payments process flexible and smooth, to better manage cash flow, and enhance the customer experience?” Hogan said.

According to the Commonwealth Bank and KPMG, these are the ways the New Payments Platform could transform your bill-paying experience:

Real-time payments

With the near-instantaneous nature of transactions on the NPP, the platform can help customers and utilities companies avoid scenarios where a reminder to pay is sent out after a customer has already paid. This would reduce friction, added costs, call centre volume and customer dissatisfaction.

Curb ‘bill shock’

In order to avoid the ‘bill shock’ of a hefty bill, the NPP could better link real-time data on monthly or daily energy usage and facilitate near-instant payments, creating a better experience for both the customer and the utility provider.

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“The fundamental customer experience here is the greater transparency and control the customer can have, it is reducing the bill shock, enabling them to be able to pay more regularly and smooth that out, to have it be instantaneous, and to not have to enter a 12 digit number to pay – just an email address or phone number,” said Hogan.

Pre-pay or make micro-payments

To really side-step bill shock, the NPP could mean customers would no longer be stuck with the only option of paying in one go, but pay in daily increments or according to their pay cycles.

The platform would also present faster and simpler ways to request payments, avoiding the need for paper invoices.

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Pay on time

The NPP could see organisations send notifications, reminders or payment requests directly to a customer’s mobile banking app. Furthermore, this could involve discounts and incentives for customers to ‘click and pay’ on time.

No more falling through the cracks

The payments platform could mean the abolishment of reference numbers of payments, which could result in wasted time and cost on extra administration.

“By using NPP’s Request to Pay functionality, the utility can include a reference number that stays with the request, and subsequent payment, without the customer ever having to enter an identifier, easing reconciliation issues. They can simply accept the payment as presented to them in their banking app,” the report said.

Furthermore, since the payment request is directed to the PayID, moving to a new address would not need to present any added complications when switching.

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