Without a doubt, electronic payments are as much a part of the future as paperless work environments. According to a 2018 Mercator customer survey, 78% of consumers paid bills electronically in 2017, including 36% who did so on a mobile device. Another survey indicated about three in four adults in the U.S. and Canada of all ages will switch at least one bill to paperless payments in 2021, with millennials accounting for 87% of that group. So what is paperless billing, and when was this option first offered?
Paperless billing definition: Also known as electronic billing or e-billing for short, in simple terms, paperless billing means receiving an electronic version of a bill instead of a paper bill.
What are paperless statements: When you opt to go paperless, you’ll typically receive an email indicating the statement is ready to access on your free online account. The paperless option usually provides the opportunity to pay bills online or set up automatic payments.
Although the precise origin and exact date of paperless billing isn’t clear, most experts concur that its advent coincided with the rise of the Information Age. The availability of computers and digital information systems transformed the way businesses functioned. As a result, the earliest phases of e-billing in the 1980s-1990s involved replacing handwritten or typewriter-generated bills with invoices created on a computer.
In the true sense of the definition, fully digitized e-billing and e-payments started in the late 20th century. This was made possible thanks to the capabilities of the Internet to complete the bill-to-pay process. The National Automated Clearing House (NACHA) is the primary organization that helps banks and utilities leverage Internet and telecommunication systems to enable customers to manage billing information electronically and submit payments online. NACHA oversees the ACH network, the actual technology that moves payments from bank account to bank account and helps prevent fraud.
To fully understand what is involved when you sign up for paperless billing, it helps to learn the basics behind this technology. Electronic bill payment and presentment (EBPP) is the process companies use to collect payments electronically, whether via the Internet, direct-dial access, or ATMs. Biller-direct electronic billing provides customers with the option to pay bills directly on a company website. When you receive an email alert that payment is due, you log into the site via a secure connection, review the billing information, and enter the payment amount.
The other option is a bank-aggregator model (also called online bill pay), which allows a customer to pay several different bills on one portal from their bank account. Many banks offer the option to set up multiple payment accounts on your online bank account to pay for credit card statements, utility bills, mortgage payments, etc.
At Avista, we make it easy for residential and business customers to pay their energy bills by offering several convenient options. Paying online provides the freedom to pay in full, make a partial payment, pay now or schedule a payment for later, and use a different or new payment method if you wish. Doing so requires the simple process of registering for an online account. Paperless billing can make it easier to manage payments since all your account information is available online. It also provides a wide array of other benefits, from saving money on stamps to reducing paper clutter.