Studies have shown that 56 percent of bills in the U.S. are paid online.
There’s a reason online billing has become so popular. It’s fast, easy and convenient for both you and your customers. Is your business benefiting from an online billing system yet?
If you’re ready to save time, money and effort, it’s time to make the switch to an online billing system. Let’s take a look at how online billing works, and some of the top reasons to start using an online billing system today.
What is an Online Billing System?
Online billing lets your customers set up and make payments online. It might be a one-time payment, or they may set up recurring payments instead.
Paying bills online is the most convenient option for many modern customers. They can pay bills on the go from their phones, tablets or laptops. And they can use recurring payments to make sure they’re never late.
The first online payments were made in 1994. Since then, many changes and updates have been made to the way we make payments online, making this one of the most common ways to make payments. In fact, many businesses now only accept payments online.
Is Online Billing Secure?
One of the main concerns many business owners have about online billing systems is security. However, it is absolutely possible to do online billing safely and securely.
It’s well-known that a security breach is an easy way to lose customers fast. Because of this, a lot of work has been put into making online billing secure for anyone who uses it.
Firewalls are one of the ways customers’ information is protected online. A firewall creates a “wall” between a computer and the internet so that other parties online can’t get information from that computer.
A firewall protects a user’s contact and payment information when they are entering it online.
Another form of protection is requiring customers to identify themselves. Using a login name and password or PIN number helps ensure that the person accessing the information is who they say they are.
Many businesses will add additional security on top of requiring customers to log in using a password. This is known as two-factor authentication.
There may be security questions if the account is being logged into from a new device, or an authentication code sent to a second device like a phone.
Customers are already very familiar with these practices. People almost always expect to sign in with a password and complete some security steps when sending payment information online.
Clients want to know that their privacy is being protected, so they will be happy to complete security steps. In fact, customers are not likely to trust your site unless those steps are required before making payments.
Online billing is a secure method of collecting payments that have been tested by time. Ready to learn more about how an online billing system will improve your business? Here are the top 10 reasons to start using online billing now.
1. Get Rid of Calculation Errors
With an online billing system, the invoices for customers will be automatically calculated. This reduces the possibility of human error, so your customers will never be incorrectly charged.
This also saves time, since the totals are known to be accurate and won’t need to be double-checked. With manual entry, it’s easy to make an error and a simple extra number or misplaced decimal point can create a huge issue for your customers.
Tax can be also automatically calculated and added, along with shipping and billing costs, when you use an online system.
2. Keep Subscriptions Organized
If you’re doing everything manually, it can be hard to keep track of customer subscriptions and other recurring payments.
Things get even more complicated when you factor in free trials, automatic renewals, transfers, refunds and coupons. It can take a lot of administrative effort to keep things organized and make sure there are no errors.
With an automated system, things will always be automatically billed, renewed, discounted or terminated when they need to be. Customers won’t have accidental gaps in their subscriptions due to human error.
You can even program in automatic reminders for customers whose subscriptions will soon be renewed, so their bill doesn’t come as a surprise. Customers love the convenience of an ongoing service that they don’t have to worry about renewing.
3. Save Money on Administration
As you can see, letting an online system do the work takes over a lot of the administrative work for your company. This means that you can get by with less administrative overhead.
Having fewer mistakes will also save you money. Humans are bound to make errors when making calculations, but machines are almost infallible.
Administration is an important part of any business, and you don’t want them tied up doing basic calculations that could be automated. Instead, free up your administrative team to focus on the things that really need human effort and let your online billing system crunch the numbers.
4. Stay More Transparent
At some point, it’s inevitable that a customer will have a question about their bill.
Whether it’s a future payment or a past one that they’re wondering about, you can ensure transparency by using an online billing system.
When billing is automated, it’s easy to review every step in the process and make sure all of the necessary information is saved and correct. You can easily find a client’s information in the system and get back to them more quickly.
This saves time on your part, makes customer service easier and keeps your clients happy because they will get the answers they’re looking for faster. You’ll save frustration for both your clients and your employees with this level of transparency.
5. Create Automated Reports
Similarly, it is easy to collect all the information needed for a report when you’re using an automated system. You can schedule the report automatically, knowing that all the information in it will be correct and on time.
Reports help you track activity, so you know where your most profitable customers are, who is buying what at which times and whether or not there are fluctuations in spending patterns.
With this level of organized knowledge, you can reach out to customers who haven’t made a purchase in a while, offer perks to your highest spenders or predict what your future cash-flow is likely to be.
6. Send Consistent Invoices
Automated invoices will be more consistent and professional-looking than those done by hand.
Customers will form an opinion of your business based on every little piece of communications. With professional invoices that always look the same, your company will appear more reliable and organized.
You can use an automated template that includes your logo and any other information that customers should have, such as your return policy. Customers like to know what to expect, so consistent communication is important.
7. Bill Customers from Anywhere
The mobility of online billing doesn’t just benefit your clients – it also benefits you. When you can send an invoice from your smartphone, no matter where you are, your business operations become much faster and easier.
You’ll also be able to access reports and financial information on the go, making it easy to keep up with what’s going on with the company, even while on business trips and working vacations.
8. Communicate with Clients Faster
Online billing means that clients get their receipts and other information right away. This speeds up the communication process, making it easier to resolve problems quickly.
For example, if a customer accidentally orders two of the same product, they’re likely to see it right away on the receipt they get in their email.
If they had waited to get the receipt via traditional mail, the product would probably have been shipped by the time the mistake was noticed. However, with online billing they can notify you of the issue right away, so the double order can be corrected before the shipment is sent out.
9. Use Less Paper and Stamps
Every individual envelope, stamp and sheet of paper is inexpensive. However, when you’re buying and sending them in bulk, it can actually become very costly.
Of course, you also have to pay someone to put bills and receipts in the envelopes, add the stamps and mail them out.
You’ll save money on both paper products and employee costs when you switch to an online billing system. You’ll also save the environment – many customers appreciate being able to go “paper-free” to reduce environmental harm.
10. Get Paid on Time
With an online system, you can send automated reminders to customers and also them to set up recurring payments. This helps eliminate the risk of late payments.
It’s easy for people to forget to pay a bill, especially if it’s not for something essential, like electricity. However, late payments can be detrimental to your company.
Online billing won’t entirely eliminate the chance of late payments, but it can drastically lower the chance of a customer missing a payment.
Online billing isn’t just the way of the future – it’s the way of the present.
Countless businesses are already using this system successfully. Join them today and you’ll quickly see why the online billing system has become so popular.
Looking for more accounting and finance help for your business? Contact us today – we can simplify financial matters for you.