Payments are a mobile endeavor

Exceleron Software
6 min readMar 11, 2021

How to offer seamless mobile payments

by Tom Jackson, Director of MyUsage Payments

In 2009, when we first introduced our MyUsage Mobile App, when most people needed to pay a bill they had to write a check, put it in an envelope, find a stamp, and go out to the nearest post office. It was a complicated process, and they had to make sure they mailed it several days in advance of the due date too!

Today, there are a lot more options available for customers to pay their utility bills on time and in full. One of the fastest-growing and popular options available is mobile payments. In fact, 94% of Exceleron customers access their MyUsage accounts using their mobile phones and one of the most frequent requests is for utilities to adopt the easy-to-use MyUsage mobile payment options available.

If you don’t offer mobile utility payments, now is a great time to start. Join us as we look at what customers expect, and how you can provide them a seamless mobile experience.

Utilities need to catch up on digital transformation

According to J.D. Power, as recently as 2018, utilities were considered one of the lowest-performing industry groups for digital transformation, although some organizations are doing better than others.

However, companies in other industries have raised the bar when it comes to the entire customer experience, including mobile payments, and utility companies need to catch up.

For example, look at businesses like Chipotle and Starbucks. Customers can order food or coffee on an app on their mobile, pay using various methods, and receive a notification when their treats are ready to pick up!

You may not offer lattes and tacos as part of what you do, but customers expect the same level of high-quality service.

What else do customers expect when it comes to paying their bills using their mobile phones?

1. Convenience

We’re spending more and more time on our smartphones, with the average person tapping, clicking, and swiping over 2,600 times a day!

With this in mind, customers are expecting convenient payment systems. This means being able to pay bills wherever they are, from commuting to work, queuing at the store, or chilling out in front of the television in the evening.

Customers want to pay their bills when it suits them, not when it suits you.

2. Speed

Customers want to be able to pay and go by grabbing their phone and making a payment in seconds. Any delays or inaccuracies in the payment process will lead to frustration, negative feedback, and slower bill payment.

They don’t want to have to dig out their wallet to find their credit card or spend time using click-through links where they are redirected to a different website to pay and possibly re-enter their credentials.

3. Security

Customers need to know that their payment will be safe and secure and that the money they pay, as well as their credit card details, will not be intercepted by scammers.

70% of the US population see security as the most critical barrier that prevents them from making mobile payments.

What mobile payment options are available?

There are a couple of standard ways you can offer mobile phone payments to your customers.

1. A mobile responsive online website

This is the easiest payment system to implement if you already give users the option to pay on your website. Ensuring your site is mobile-friendly will encourage smartphone users to make payments on it.

According to Google, 57% of customers would not recommend a company with a bad mobile website, so it is crucial to make sure that your payment system works perfectly on a smartphone. Plus, mobile-friendly sites look and perform better on desktops and rank higher in the search engines as a bonus.

We’ll talk about making your website more responsive and user-friendly later in the article.

2. Mobile app

Mobile apps are increasing in popularity, with nearly 90% of mobile internet time now spent on apps.

A mobile app is an excellent option for customers to pay their utility bills. Utility-specific mobile applications allow for streamlined features and capabilities that are not available with mobile responsive websites including communication and location services. You can send customers a push notification when their bill is due and securely store their credit card details in the app for easy payment in the future.

An app, such as MyUsage, can also offer additional functionality as well. For example, customers can accurately track their utility usage and spend each day and predict their bill.

How to make it easy for your customers to pay by mobile phone

So you’ve decided that you want to introduce mobile payment for your utility customers. What can you do to encourage customers to take advantage of this option? When implementing any new solution, it’s important to keep customer preferences and ease-of-use at the forefront.

1. Focus on your mobile UX

People access payment systems on their mobile phones differently than they do on a desktop. For example, did you know that three out of four people access their phone screen using just their thumb? You need to create a mobile payment system that customers can use quickly and efficiently. A lot goes into this, including ensuring your app is compatible with both Apple and Android devices, following accessibility rules and guidelines for people with disabilities, and providing a good user experience. Building a good app is no easy feat — It can quickly become expensive and incredibly time-consuming.

Fortunately, we’ve done the work for you! Our mobile app has a 4+ star rating, while the average Utilities app in the Apple store has a rating of 3.46 out of 5 stars. The MyUsage mobile app makes it easy for customers to pay bills in seconds, which in turn makes them more likely to pay on time.

2. Cater to customer preferences

Consider the apps you use most. They are probably fast, responsive, and intuitive. Customers will quickly become frustrated with a slow or confusing application. Start by assessing your current payment options — Are they quick? Intuitive? Your mobile payment app needs to function just as well as any other mainstream application.

Speed is one of the most important factors. 70% of users abandon an app because it takes too long to load and 43% are unhappy if they have to wait more than three seconds. It takes many rounds of testing to ensure an app functions quickly and doesn’t have bugs. For this reason, it makes sense to go with a utilities payment application, such as MyUsage, that has already been well-tested.

3. Personalize the experience

Even personalization can have a significant impact. Only 18% of mobile apps offer a personalized experience, so engaging with your customers on a more personal level can increase your engagement rates.

Customers respond best to personalized outreach rather than mass messaging. Personalizing messages sent through your mobile payments app can improve retention and engagement. Through the Exceleron platform, you can send customers personalized reminders when bills are due and updates on usage and balance.

In fact, 72% of consumers say they only engage with personalized messaging. Sending all customers the same reminder to pay their bill may be annoying to those who paid ahead of time. Sending a reminder to a customer that they have an overdue bill, however, is helpful and builds a closer relationship with them.

In summary

Mobile payments are faster and more convenient for both you and your customers. Beyond that, the option to pay via mobile is becoming an expectation. However, just any app won’t do. Customers will quickly become frustrated with a slow or confusing mobile app experience. Working with an established mobile app payments provider, like Exceleron, is faster and more cost-effective.

By providing customers with a mobile payments solution that caters to their preferences, you can improve their experience while simultaneously increasing revenue. The MyUsage mobile app gives you more ways to send personalized outreach and build a relationship with your customers.

Your customers don’t have to dread paying their utility bill each month. Instead, you can help them make it an easy and painless process.

Contact Exceleron today.

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Exceleron Software

North America’s leading utility prepay and payment service company.