BillingTree, in partnership with American Banker, conducted an annual survey of lending institutions in the U.S. The purpose of the survey was to understand the usage of payment technology solutions and the priorities of decision-making consumer lending professionals. As the industry navigates a shifting business and regulatory environment, survey results will help to establish a benchmark to examine trends year-over-year.
Consumer buying behaviors also continue to evolve, which means payment options have expanded. In today’s constantly-connected world, consumer lending institutions have had to evolve their operations and expand the range of services they offer to customers for making payments and accessing information.
One of the key findings of the survey suggests a migration from manual processes and paper payments to electronic payments and online customer service – and a shift to mobile technology with 24x7 access to anything, anywhere.
When survey respondents were asked to compare 2014 to 2015 and projected plans for 2016, the results indicated a decline in the use of live agent-assisted payment acceptance, while continuing to embrace automation. Interactive voice response (IVR) technology was used by 28 percent of respondents in 2014, 30 percent in 2015 and a slight decline projected for 2016 (29 percent).
Online portal adoption slowly grew from 50 percent in 2014 to 53 percent in 2015, with a slight projected decline to 52 percent for 2016. Text payment authorization, reflecting mobile payment industry trends, steadily increased from 16 percent in 2014 to 22 percent in 2015 and projected 26 percent for 2016. Agent assisted payments declined from 45 percent in 2014 to 42 percent in 2015 with 38 percent planning to rely on live agents in 2016.
An important note for the survey results is that while the respondents reported consistent declines in traditional payment technologies, it does not necessarily mean they will no longer be accepted or phased out. Institutions may plan to move agents to other duties rather than live payment assistance. Their positions will not be eliminated, fewer dedicated agents will be necessary to handle over-the-phone payments.
Overall when it comes to technology adoption, consumer lenders responded that there remains room for further optimization, and that, in the case of mobile, they have aggressive plans to adopt sooner than later. At the same time, they are beginning to regard online and mobile services as more than something to augment their existing service models and methods. They now foresee a future that is paperless, automated and always available.
To read more of the survey results, you can access the entire report, 2015 Consumer Finance Business Strategy and Technology Survey here.