Sep 30, 2013 Sean Albert
New technology has enabled some of the most efficient payment processing capabilities in history, especially accounts like those used with ACH cards that enhanced automation. More businesses, consumers and even public sector organizations continue to shift transaction processing practices into these new platforms, reducing the amount of time and money that needs to go into accounts payable and receivable.
However, these trends have also coincided with massive increases in data breaches, identity theft and financial account takeovers, with some estimates placing the cost of cyber attacks above the $1 billion mark annually. There seems to be no hiding from automated and electronic payment processing, so decision-makers need to prepare properly to avoid major losses.
Some economists and financial analysts have even called for the end of cash, with so many consumers and businesses now using a range of payment options instead of paper money. The cashless society does seem to be coming rapidly, though it is still yet to be determined when the majority of consumers in the global economy will completely make the shift.
Auto bill pay a driver
Marketplace.org recently reported that some analysts, especially those among financial services providers, are baffled at why more consumers do not use automated bill pay. This function has been especially popular for enterprises, as the firms can set up ACH and wire transfers to be sent to vendors through accounts payable and receivable on a regular basis.
Still, consumers have been largely slow to take advantage of automatic bill pay services, and this could be the result of a variety of factors. For example, some might not be comfortable with the associated technology, fearing for security or a glitch that leads to either missed or late payments without even knowing. Others might not feel as though the associated apps are easy to use.
The source interviewed Fred Davis, a University of Arkansas professor of information systems, to get an expert view on this trend.
"The decision a person makes to adopt a new technology is based on two key factors," he told Marketplace.org. "Number one, their perception of whether the technology is useful. And secondly, it should be it should also be easy to use."
According to the news provider, the shift is still becoming more apparent, with some estimates indicating that paper checks will be completely extinct in the United States by 2026.
Get a jump
Business owners and alternative financial services providers should consider offering consumers automated bill pay options as soon as possible, especially when operating in North America where electronic transactions are thriving. By getting into the game as early as possible, firms will be better positioned to make slight adjustments as preferences change, gain a comfort level with the associated technology and garner a strong following going into the next few years.
So long as the organization can ensure functionality and exceptional security, ACH cards and wire transfers that are automated will likely be major financial drivers in the future.