Published in Transform by Joe Devlin Click here for list of articles
  July 2001 Why replacing paper-based remittance systems with electronic remittance is so difficult-and how to go about pulling it off
IntroductionMain ArticleMixing PaymentsGauging EBPPThe Check & List Problem
B2BCase StudyVendorsGlossary 

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Banks and billers face a muddled environment of electronic and paper-based processes. The latest technology merges mixed payments and streamlines conventional transactions.


      The Slow Arrival of Electronic Remittance

Executive Summary

"The typical paper-based billing process is made up of a series of time-honored steps handled in sequence by various manual and computer-aided methods. First a firm's billing information is aggregated, stored and sourced for billing data. Then actual paper bills are printed, mailed and delivered. When received by customers, these bills are then reviewed, exceptions are noted and contact with payees may be necessary to resolve differences. Next, checks are written, records are maintained, postage is applied and payments are delivered. Finally, the biller and the payer's bank or financial institution exchanges payment data for instream account reconciliation." Buy Now, Pay Now: Internet-Enabled Billing Comes of Age", Zona Research, March 2001.

Sounds complicated, huh? It's expensive, too. The round-trip cost of generating a single paper bill, invoice or other form of remittance and processing the payment and paperwork that comes back is approximately $1.90, according to Jupiter Communications in New York.

Moving to an all-electronic EBPP (Electronic Billing and Presentment) remittance system could save businesses a serious amount of money. Jupiter estimates that electronic remittance systems can be operated for about 20% of the price of a comparable paper-based system. This translates to a savings of almost $1.20 per bill. Jupiter estimates that going electronic could save US businesses a whopping $18 billion per year.

So if the numbers are so compelling, what's taking us so long to dump the paper? Read on and we will explain why EBPP has been so long in coming; describe some of the hurdles faced by those working in a world in which electrons and paper clash; and provide a few tips about steps your company or clients can take to make the inevitable transition go a little bit more smoothly.

Main Article


Coping with Mixed Payments
Cheaper Alternatives
Penetration of EBPP Systems
Solving the Check & List Problem
BankWare Case Study
B2B Sidebar
For More Information

Glossary of Banking Terms (from one of Joe Devlin's earlier banking articles)

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