New Marketing Technique Allows
Customers to ‘Try Out’ E-Bill Service
A NEW WAY FOR BANKS TO MARKET E-BILL
SERVICES TO CUSTOMERS has been introduced by
Fiserv. The approach is a form of “tryvertising,” in which the
customer is given an opportunity to “try out” e-billing during
a trial period while simultaneously receiving paper bills.
A series of e-bill pilot programs conducted with banks
and credit unions shows that the approach can have a significant impact on e-bill adoption, particularly among first time
users, according to Eric Leiserson of Fiserv.
Over the course of the last decade, online electronic bill
payment has found favor with many consumers, becoming
a mainstream service. On the other hand, electronic bill presentment, in which an electronic version of a bill (e-bill) is
delivered to a financial institution or biller website, has seen
slower adoption, according to Leiserson. “Even though e-bills
have been available for nearly as long as electronic bill payment, there remains a widespread lack of consumer awareness about the availability of e-bills, how they work and the
benefits e-bills provide to recipients,” he says.
Smart move for banks to promote e-bill
To date, banks and have often left e-bill promotion to billers,
but it might be to their advantage to take additional steps to
encourage e-bill adoption.
One study has shown that e-bill users hold higher balanc-
es, own more
do not receive
e-bills, and that
there is a signifi-
ship between Your kitchen drawer will STILL gather clutter; BUT your financial life can
now be perfectly organized.
e-bill adoption and lower attrition. Another study showed
that customers who receive e-bills are more likely to have savings, deposit and credit accounts with their primary financial
institution than customers who do not receive e-bills. In addition, consumers who receive e-bills give high marks when it
comes to how satisfied they are with the service.
Tryvertising, a relatively new marketing trend borrowed
from the broader world of retail marketing, enables consumers to become familiar with new products by trying or previewing them before a purchase is made.
When applied to billing, tryvertising encompasses the use
of e-bills side-by-side with paper bills for a specific duration
so that consumers gain firsthand experience of the benefits of
receiving e-bills. By experiencing electronic bill presentment
and associated capabilities such as due-date alerts while still
receiving paper bills, consumers are able to establish a comfort level with the electronic process. An introductory period
also assures consumers that e-bills, along with due-date
alerts, provide the reminders necessary to help make certain
bills are paid on time. “This eliminates one of the primary
impediments to paper bill turn-off—the reliance on paper
bills as a reminder to pay,” says Leiserson.
Results of pilot projects
A series of pilots of the e-bill tryvertising program was
conducted by Fiserv with four top 10 banks and one top 10
credit union. The pilots were structured so that customers
began receiving e-bills alongside their paper bills for a 90-day
period. Once the pilot was complete, the customers were then
given the option to opt-in to e-bills or they would revert to
receiving only paper bills.
Over 395,000 active online bill payment customers at
the various institutions were included in the pilot. The e-bill
used in the pilot was from a major communications service
provider. On average, the participating financial institutions
realized the following results:
As part of a pilot program to test a
new marketing technique to promote
e-bill, Fiserv developed advertising
templates that banks can adapt by
inserting their own logos. Shown
here is a sample of the ads.
You don’t listen to music like
So, why keep receiving your
bills like this?
m;Activation rate: the number of e-bill
activations was three times higher for
customers enrolled in the pilot than for
customers who were not enrolled
m;First time e-bill users: 74 percent
of those that activated an e-bill were
first time e-bill users
m;Draft effect on e-bills: nearly 70
percent of pilot participants who ac-
tivated an e-bill activated at least one
additional e-bill from another biller; on
the average, two additional e-bills were