Fiserv Study Finds Users Increasingly Comfortable With Non-Bank Bill Pay

September 26, 2017         By: Steven Anderson

While most of us probably think of our bank first when it comes to bill payment—whether via app or by old-fashioned paper check—a growing body of users is thinking in a different direction. A new study from Fiserv noted that customers are increasingly comfortable with not using financial services providers for such activities, including growing numbers turning to voice-activated assistants and the like.

Over half of studied consumers had turned to such a mechanism in the previous year, and better than one in four had done so in the preceding 30 days. While most proved comfortable with the established bank or credit union option, growing numbers proved just as comfortable with less conventional options.

For instance, on paying bills, 88 percent felt comfortable using a bank or credit union. Reasonable enough; that’s how people have been paying bills for decades. Yet at the same time, 52 percent were ready to turn to a payments company, and 40 percent would go through a technology company with few qualms. Even 16 percent were ready to turn to a social company.

Taking out a loan, meanwhile, favored the traditional, but with a nod to the new. Eighty-two percent were ready to go through a bank, while 32 percent turn to payments. Another 29 percent would go  technology, and 14 percent social.

Fiserv chief operations officer Mark Ernst commented “It’s critical that financial institutions think of themselves as technology providers in order to capture the opportunity to expand upon existing customer relationships and meet the demand for fast, convenient solutions that make people’s lives easier. The best and most convenient options will be the ones that win out.”

While the traditional bank and credit union currently rule the roost, it’s plain to see that alternative measures are indeed gaining ground. Most of us likely learned how to pay bills by writing checks, just as our parents taught us long ago. New alternatives will of course be slow to catch on, but eventually, as customers get comfortable and tell their friends, the new options catch up and become the established features.

The landscape is changing, and alternatives like mobile payments are catching on all over. Such is the nature of new technology, and it’s a point that will give us plenty to watch going forward.