We know that the younger generation of adults, whether you call them Generation Y or Millennials, is the force driving a lot of changes in technology. Whether it’s social media, texts replacing email or watching television on a tablet, this is the group that seems to be driving things forward.
And that extends to banking, as Alex Leslie delved into here a few months ago. We also learned that this generation is more receptive to the possibilities of mobility, including banking and payments, as we saw in our recent discussion of branchless banking. That trend is supported by new numbers from Juniper Research that show bill payments made through PCs, tablets and mobiles will exceed 20 billion in 2014. This represents about 16 percent of all consumer household bills globally.
Online bill paying has been around for years, but there are still a lot of people who prefer sending a check in an envelope with a stamp, but if these numbers hold true, the various postal services will continue to see a decline in their volume.
Juniper expects online bill payment uptake to rise even more over the next five years with millennials leading the way with their desire for immediate gratification by paying bills in the quickest and easiest way possible.
Interestingly, the study found that despite mobile phones leading the way as the device of choice for bill presentment and payment services, it’s PCs and tablets that account for higher transaction values. This is likely due to the larger screens on those two devices and the incorrect notion that they are more secure than mobiles.
Another finding from the report that stands out is that the vendors themselves are starting to move beyond the more obvious channels for online payment into mostly unexplored areas including wearables devices. If you think paying your electric bill from your phone today is cool, imagine doing it from your smart watch or your smart glasses or any other device we can think of that will be somehow attached to our bodies. Paying by contact lens? No problem. The possibilities seem endless.
There’s a point where that just becomes silly, but paying by watch or glasses in both retail and online settings could be very real very soon. By extending payments out to these types of devices, companies that need to bill customers on a regular basis are creating a deeper relationship with the customer and instilling a higher level of loyalty and satisfaction.
So while many of us pay our bills online today, in the near future we may be doing it from devices that aren’t even invented yet. And then the generation after the Millennials will come up with something entirely new and different!