Love it or hate it, our smartphones are slowly changing the way we do nearly everything and pretty soon we may be able to pay our energy bills with a simple text.
It’s called FlickPay, a mobile bill payment solution that allows Aussies to pay for their utility bills by simply replying ‘P’ to a FlickPay SMS.
With FlickPay, there’s no app to download but Aussies will have to register for FlickPay and provide their card details, which are safely secured in a PCI Level 1 compliant vault.
The system was launched by messaging provider, MessageMedia, and was first trialled by energy retailer, 1st Energy last year.
As a result, 68% of customers paid their bill 10 days earlier than the due date, reinforcing the idea that SMS payments provide customers with more financial control.
However, Mozo Energy Expert, Nathan Warne is not entirely convinced of the new payment system.
“For a lot of people, having that reminder could come in handy if you often forget to pay your bills. But if that’s the case, you could be better off having a direct debit set for the due date”, he said.
“Given that the AER's most recent Market Performance report states 2% of electricity customers are on payment plans and more than 1% are on hardship programs, it’s pleasing to see 68% are paying their bill 10 days early.”
The research, commissioned by MessageMedia, revealed that 53% of Aussies feel that the current way to pay bills is outdated and frustrating, while one in five said that bills and reminders got lost in their inbox or were forgotten after they received them in the mail.
And when given the option to pay their bills by SMS, 34% of Aussies said they would.
“With customers becoming increasingly mobile-first, it’s important that retailers are adapting their billing options to align with changing customer attitudes. What better way than with SMS, which delivers an open rate of 98%,” said Product Manager at MessageMedia, Tom Dupuche.
Is it time to abolish pay on time discounts?
With FlickPay a winner in the eyes of some Aussies and the recent scrutiny over the fairness of pay on time discounts, is time to say the nation said goodbye to confusing payment methods and features?
“Recently we’ve seen more retailers come into the market that don’t offer any type of discounts at all. Instead, they’re promising customers better deals on their bills with low electricity prices and minimal fees,’ said Warne.
“The AER have already said that pay on time discounts are confusing and incomparable to other offers in the market - not to mention the extra amount you’re charged if you miss the due date, so it could be time to reconsider discounts altogether.”
Although Aussies might be waiting a while for FlickPay to roll out to other retailers, you can take the step now toward a better deal on your energy plan.
Our energy comparison tool not only gives you the option to take discounts out of your search, but it also provides a range of offers available within your postcode.