New Delhi: The trend of E-billing is fast catching up in the metros with average households saving up to 80 hours in a year. According to a study on “e-Billing – a better option for convenience” carried out by Assocham, the e-billing business is growing by 200%. It is likely to touch Rs6.5 million by 2008-09 from the current level of Rs1.9 million.
Netizens will increasingly adopt online bill payment for factors such as convenience, control, trust, privacy, and improved record-keeping; another plus factor is that they can depend on customer service for recourse.
India’s Internet population currently stands over 100 million and is expected to grow to 125 million by 2008-09. Online bill payment is an opportunity for both billers and consumers. Currently, the average Indian household in the top 10 Indian cities pays approximately 50 bills annually, in finance, insurance, telecommunication and utility-based companies, besides the usual electricity, water, house tax and other civic levies.
Offline bill payment is a time-consuming process, and doing it online not only benefits billers but consumers as well. Electronic Bill Presentment and Payment (EBPP) as a potential cost saver, presents a revenue opportunity for banks and third-party service providers. Also banks can cash in because of their reputation as Rs.trusted companies’, moreso when they recognize that their online customers are more profitable than their offline customers.
While automated bank debits for bill payment have been available to consumers for more than a decade, it’s the benefit of self-service at any hour and increasing comfort with online financial transactions that are attracting netizens to Internet bill payment services in large numbers.
* Mumbai had taken the lead in e-billing since 28% of its population availed of e-billing transactions followed by 22% of Delhi, 12.5% of Chennai, 12% of Bangalore, and 5.2% of Hyderabad. In Pune, online payments are affected by about 5% of its total population and between 6-7% of Kolkata, 2.4% of Ahemdabad, 2.2% of Lucknow and about 2% of Indore
* 73% of online payers accesses the internet from home, while 79% from office; 36% from cyber cafes, 7% from friends’ place and 14% from mobile phone
* 75% of cell phone possessor choose online medium for payment of their bills; 73% owners of landline telephones also opt for this medium for bills payment; 70% pay credit card bills online while 60% pay electricity bills online; 45% pay insurance premium online; 42% pay internet access bills with this medium while 29% pay for their magazine subscriptions online
* 54% cited convenience as the most important reason for their patronizing e-billing; 35% cited time saving as they could pay bills without having to stand in line at a counter or even a bill payment centre; on an average, customers saved upto 80 hours a year and paying bills online reduced paperwork and was an easier way to manage bills. 5% were attracted to online bill payment because they could pay multiple bills at the same time on the same site or on a different site
* 46% online bill payers are between the age of 26-35, followed by 22% in the age 18-25 group; 20% are in the 36-45 age group, 11% in the 40-60 bracket and 2% in the 61+ age bracket
* 83% online bill payers are male and 17% female; 43% are unmarried, 14% married with no kids and 43% are married with kids
* By occupation, of online bill payers 3% are students while 6% are supervisors/officers, 64% are executives (including junior, middle and senior levels). 11% are professionals or self employed, 4% are businessmen/ industrialists, 1% are shop owners and 2% are housewives
* 99% of online bill payers use the internet for emails; 82% use search engines; 81% use it for surfing, 68% look up news online ; 20% look up news on the mobile; 80% use it for online banking , 57% use it for online shopping; 33% trade stocks online, 28% participate in online bidding.