In our Innovation Journey for Bill Pay, it was clear the existing bill pay process for many organizations was one area primed for improvement. Billers desired a bill pay process that was integrated with cash management, had an easy way to quickly resolve customer bill questions, and reduced processing costs. On the other hand, bill payers were looking for a centralized view of bills each month, immediate acknowledgement of payment receipt, notification of upcoming bills and more.
Customer Value Proposition
Bill Pay on the RTP® network can offer better predictability and easy reconciliation to billers, along with better working capital management and operational efficiencies.
Bill Pay on the RTP® network can offer benefits for both retail and commercial financial institution customers (better flexibility, predictability, transparency), and enable financial institutions to provide innovative solutions in the market.
Bill Pay Innovation Journey
Design Thinking Innovation Journey
The Clearing House conducted design thinking sessions with several financial institutions to re-design the bill payment experience leveraging the features of the RTP® network. Our journey began with assessing customer and biller perspectives through focus group interviews. The approach helped us drive the innovation journey while assuming the customer needs as the guiding principle.
Frame the problem and identify the core business issues
Our innovation journey began with identifying and framing the core issues for billers and customers.
Customer Related Pain-Points
Customers find that mismanagement of bills, difficulty tracking due dates, late payments and associated penalties are some of the major pain points in their bill pay journey today.
Mismanagement of Bills
6 in 10 Americans are anxious about mismanagement of their different bills (Source: Aite report- U.S. Consumer Payment Experience: A Blueprint for Creating Positive Behaviors)
Inconvenient Tracking of Bills
35% of customers cited tracking due dates as their biggest pain point
> 61% of consumers make one-time bill payments resulting in nearly 46% making late bill payments (Source: Aite report- U.S. Consumer Payment Experience: A Blueprint for Creating Positive Behaviors)
84% of customers cited late fees as the primary motivation to drive bill pay prioritization (Source: Fiserv)
Biller Related Pain-Points
High costs of paper bills, inefficient reconciliation, and the need to maintain higher cash reserves are some of the challenges faced by billers today.
- 1 in 4 checking account owners/bill payers still receive both online and paper statements each month which is redundant and costly (Source: Javelin)
- Paper check receiving and processing is 5 times more expensive than the cost of receiving an ACH for a billing company (Source: AFP)
Ineffective Funds Management
Lack of visibility in bill payments; tedious reconciliation of money from different channels
Mass messaging gaining limited attention from target customers
High Contact Center Costs
Most calls to the contact center are to inquire about payments which increases costs
With core issues identified to frame the Problem, we moved on to Ideation.
Plan and conduct research, immerse the team in research, and identify a relevant set of insights using the design thinking methodology of empathizing with the customers and creating personas. Bring together and examine insights and generate their related implications
We conducted interviews with customers and billers to identify the core elements (pain points and needs) that were most important in creating an optimal user experience. 15 customers across segments, generation, and gender were interviewed to gather feedback on the RTP® concept and bill pay prototype.
Segments: 53% customers, 47% small and medium business
Generation split: 33% Millennials, 40% Gen Xers, 27% Baby Boomers
Gender: 53% male, 47 female
Millennial: 18 – 37 yrs. Tech Savvy
Gen X: 38-53 yrs. Use digital channels to improve efficiency, save time etc.
Baby Boomer: 54 to 71 yrs. (limited use of digital channels)
We interviewed 7 billers, across industry, and company size to gather feedback on the RTP concept and bill pay prototype.
After completing our research and interviews, we developed personas for both the customer and biller.
Need the financial institution to protect their personal information and money
Need to avoid payment processing delays that cause payments to be late
Need reminders from billers and access to them for questions for their bills
Need help keeping track of their balance and upcoming bills to prevent overdrafts
Need the financial institution to provide protection from security threats e.g., fraud, hacking
Need visibility into all future revenue inflows so they don’t have to borrow credit from financial institutions or maintain a large cash reserve
Need to hear directly from their customers and solve their queries as soon as they come in to ensure a good customer experience
Need better reconciliation to match customer/store/parent company names with transactions and credit statements
Customer Value Proposition
Based on the target customer persona, we defined the value proposition of RTP® as below.
Biller Value Propositions
Based on the target biller persona, we defined the value proposition of RTP® as below.
We examined the customer needs and current bill pay journey to envision a future bill pay experience.
We examined the biller needs and current bill pay journey to envision a future bill pay experience.
Generate concepts, define concept elements, and articulate customer and consumer value propositions
Our design principles around Clarity, Intuitiveness, Simplicity and Control helped us recommend the following features to enhance the customer bill pay experience.
Real-time RfPs and 24/7 payment confirmations
Immediate debits from the account balance via a visible tracker and availability of credited funds for use
Consistent online/mobile bank experience with one financial institution
Bank-authenticated billers, protected personal information
Consolidated view of all bills and planning tools (calendar, statuses)
Configurable payment schedules (by amount & date)
Credit-push payment initiation
Access to payment history
Self-service RFIs for bill inquiries and exception handling
Proactive notifications around payments and balances
Conduct rapid prototyping exercises to build low fidelity prototypes and deepen the concepts, detail customer experiences and use cases for the personas identified
Rapid Prototype Exercise
Participating financial institutions went through a rapid prototyping exercise to conceptualize a potential bill pay solution that takes advantage of RTP® functionality. These design principles helped us develop an optimal user experience in the form of a Minimum Viable Product (MVP), based on customer needs and preferences.
During the initial design thinking workshops, financial institutions participated in multiple working sessions to create paper prototypes for Bill Pay. At the end of the working sessions, all participants selected the top features from all drafted prototypes, keeping the customer and biller needs in mind. At the end of the workshop, we created a single paper prototype and converted it into high-fidelity screens based on selected features. Later, the final screens were further refined with improvements for various payment flows and user payment scenarios.
Plan and run pilots for select customer cohorts to gather feedback and iterate on the final product
Production Validation and Controlled Production Launch by Financial Institutions
Financial institutions created a roll-out plan and conducted tests to validate the basic functionalities and end-to-end flow in a controlled production environment. These tests helped the participating financial institutions and their billers identify any showstopper or critical defects to be fixed before RTP® Bill Pay is made available to a larger set of customers.
- Test the basic RTP Bill Pay functionalities (RfP and credit transfer) by conducting a round trip transaction over the RTP network in the production environment
- Only the Customer FI, Biller FI, and the network are involved at this stage
Controlled Production Launch
- Test the end-to-end flow in a controlled production environment
- Participants include Friends and Family or employees with an active account with Customer FI and existing relation with the biller
- May still involve some manual operational processes (e.g., payment posting, customer query management, etc.)
Note: The phases (production validation and controlled production launch) mentioned above are for reference only; it is recommended that FIs and their biller partners take an informed decision for their institution on the appropriate timelines and the set of activities for each phase. FIs should consult with their own legal and compliance representatives to review the risks and legal issues the service may raise.
Plan launch activities, develop marketing collateral and bring the product to market for commercial use
Full Scale Production Launch and General Availability by Financial Institutions
As financial institutions complete early tests in a controlled production environment, the next step for them would be to launch the RTP® Bill Pay capabilities at scale to all customers in a segment, enabled to receive Request for Payments and send credit transfers. This will be followed by general availability of RTP® Bill Pay capabilities to all customers across different business segments.
Full Scale Production Launch
- Launch of RTP® Bill Pay capabilities to all customers in a segment on the RTs enabled by the Customer FI to receive RfPs and send credit transfers
- All FI processes are expected to be automated to support a large volume of transactions
- Timeline for this phase may vary for a FI, based on their enablement plan for different customer segments
- FIs may conduct full scale production launch with multiple billers before moving to general availability
- Launch of RTP Bill Pay capabilities to all customers across different business segments (retail, small business, corporate, etc.) available to receive RfPs and send credit transfers
Note: The phases (full scale production launch and general availability) mentioned above are for reference only; it is recommended that FIs and their biller partners take an informed decision for their institution on the appropriate timelines and the set of activities for each phase. FIs should consult with their own legal and compliance representatives to review the risks and legal issues the service may raise.
RTP® Network Resources
We have developed useful collateral for billers and financial institutions that will help them navigate through their RTP® Bill Pay innovation journey.
The RTP Network Biller Playbook focuses on highlighting a clear description of RTP® from billers’ perspective and outlining a tactical approach for operationalizing RTP.
Bill Pay Experience at a Point of Disruption provides an overview of the Bill Pay market in the US, a summary of the pain points and needs for both banking customers and billers, and, most importantly, how RTP can solve for these pain points.
A Re-imagined Bill Pay Experience explores the brand promise and value proposition of RTP for billers and bill payers. Includes educational information and examples of promotional collateral targeted for both groups as well.
The RTP Bill Pay Implementation Guide has been developed to help financial institutions be successful in their RTP Bill Pay launch and implementation journey. Lays out an approach, requirements, recommendations, and scenario guidelines.
The Production Launch Planning Guide outlines a recommended phased approach for RTP® Bill Pay Production Launch. FIs may leverage this document along with existing RTP® documentation (Foundational and Advanced) to launch RTP® Bill Pay and provide a consistent Bill Pay experience to their customers and billers.