E-Commerce Times Talkback
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A financial technology services firm on Monday unveiled Nopaperbills.com, a Web site where
consumers and small businesses can receive, view and pay both electronic and paper bills
over the Internet.
However, an analyst at e-financial research and consulting firm Celent told the E-Commerce
Times that many hurdles continue to impede the success of Nopaperbills.com and other
scan-and-pay online billing providers.
As a very happy customer of Paytrust, I have to question Marenzi's analysis of the consumer value proposition with on-line bill pay. After years of spending several hours/month of monotonously opening, reading, paying, mailing, and filing bills (which to me is a non-value added, life "stealing" activity) I feel like I've received an incredible gift of time and convenience with this service. Paytrust has been 99.9% reliable, I can pay bills anywhere I have internet access (great when traveling), and the cost is just little more than what I'd pay for stamps. These benefits far outweigh the 2 hour set-up time it took to get started and missing the "junk mail" promotions I'd pitch in the trash anyway. I think any busy professional or "household CFO" with a life would never go back to traditional bill pay after trying this service.
I will be interested to see what the uptake rates are for this service. An identical offering was launched in early 2000 in South Africa, called www.nomorebills.co.za. The company founders concurred with your expert's assessment regarding critical issues in a consumer-centric business model and determined that the service should be withdrawn from the market until the EBPP market matures.
While committed to new services that give the consumer what they actually want, I imagine that the nopaperbills solution may find it difficult to grow a healthy user base without significant education and awareness raising around the real benefits of EBPP. Just as with pure online banking plays, we continue to discover that end-users are reluctant to adopt technology that lacks a bricks and mortar counterpart.
The nopaperbills.com service is also obviously extremely labour-intensive and costly to administer well, and unless they have an anchor client that can provide a large enough core group of individual users to kick-start consumer adoption, it could be quite a rocky ride.