New Financial Year, New Payment Habits
This in turn impacts their ability to pay staff and suppliers? It’s not surprising then that 47% of SMEs see late payments as a threat to their business.
“With this in mind – and with it being a new financial year – I would like to urge consumers to adopt new payment habits,” says Andrew Hardie, Chief Executive Officer at Pay@ – a leading payment aggregator and provider of secure payment solutions. “Not only will this benefit the -organisations you deal with, but it will also help prevent you from incurring late-payment penalties and interest if dealing with entities like municipalities, Eskom, and banks.”
According to Hardie, new payment habits could include:
- Paying the most important bills first: Prioritise your expenditure and ensure that, once you are paid your salary or grant, you immediately pay for things that are most important to you and your family.
- Automating your finances: Most of us know about debit orders which is when you give a third-party permission to collect money from your bank account. However, these are often missed, like when they bounce due to insufficient funds or if they have been stopped and not reactivated. Alternatives can include setting up a recurring payment from within your bank account, on your credit card, or via EFT.
- Being savvy about the payment platforms you use: Let’s face it, no one likes parting with their hard-earned money, so why not save some by using payment platforms that charge zero costs to the payer, such as in-store payments at retailers or certain digital channels?
“Businesses can also play their part by using efficient bill presentment methods that ensure customers receive their bills on time and in ways that suit them best, be it via email, QR code, WhatsApp, USSD, apps, web, or SMS. This way, their bills can’t get lost in the post!” says Hardie.
“Additionally, bill issuers should offer more effective ways of dealing with missed payments. Often, we hear of stories whereby consumers try to contact the companies they owe but end up getting pushed from pillar to post trying to find the right person to speak to. I would therefore suggest making that process more seamless, for instance by getting a call centre agent to contact the consumer once the payment has been missed to inform them of the issue and let them know that they will be sent a secure message providing them with an array of payment options to choose from including EFT, card, cash and mobile money. This will benefit both the bill issuer and the customer, ensuring that the service can continue.”
He concludes by saying: “Small changes in the way consumers and companies do things can go a long way.”