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With just a few days left in 2021, many consumers (and businesses) are ready to wrap up another challenging year and start fresh in 2022. In the world of bill pay, 2021 certainly sent many waves to billers in all industries in the form of mail delays, staffing challenges, and rising costs. What’s coming next? How can consumers and billers prepare for the next wave? We asked some of our ACI billing and payment experts to share their top two predictions for 2022.

  • Real-time payments will continue to be a growing trend as consumer expectations for faster money movement have increased significantly in the past year, especially when the consumer is expecting a refund or claim payment. Receiving a check in the mail requires more steps to deposit and is a poor consumer experience, compared to offering the consumer a choice in how they can receive their funds in just minutes. 
  • The shift to mobile will also accelerate in 2022, especially for younger consumers who manage so much of their daily lives on a smartphone. Consumers of all ages are looking for ways to receive and pay their bills without downloading individual apps for each company they need to pay. Billers that adopt a “mobile-first” strategy, with options to pay by text or within a mobile wallet like Apple Pay or Google Pay, will not only improve customer satisfaction, but they’ll also establish a new or maximize an existing channel already in their mobile devices to drive further engagement with their customers.  -Sanjay Gupta, Executive Vice President, Biller Solutions
  • I predict that digital payments volume will see continued growth in 2022. Alternative payment methods such as Apple Pay, PayPal, Venmo, etc. will shift into the traditional payment categories based on adoption.
  • I expect we will see real-time payments (such as TCH and Fed Now) and cryptocurrencies become the new alternative payments method and some consumers will seek ways to pay their bills using Bitcoin or other digital forms of money. -Mahala Johnson, Vice President, Head of Product Management
  • I see continued or increased addition of alternative payment methods by billers in all industries to meet increasing demand, especially from younger consumers. Our latest ACI Speedpay Pulse study shows that more than 55 percent of Gen Z/Millennials are interested in paying bills with an alternative payments method.
  • In addition, I see continued desire to have improved mobile experiences and options for consumers by expanding on what exists today. Leveraging notifications and SMS for more billing and payment-related interactions and communications, not just confirmation of a payment being made.

-Andrew Sajeski, Vice President, Head of Solution Consulting

  • I believe we’ll see a tremendous uptick in cryptocurrencies (acceptance and use) over the next year. This, of course, means that bill payment systems and providers will need to be conversant in crypto, and their applications and services will have to support them.  And given the abundance of cryptocurrencies available, this can become an arduous and consuming task. 
  • Consumers in general are growing tired of breaches that impact their personal information, and because bill payment systems are such a wealth of PII, they will be in the forefront (along with Healthcare and Government sectors) for consumer attention.  Legislators will be pressured to increase the scrutiny (meaning fines and sanctions) for privacy breaches and there will be no shortage of differing laws and statutes pertaining to companies’ requirements to improve their protection of consumer data.

-Gene Scriven, Global Head of Cyber & Corporate Security

  • 2022 presents a great opportunity for billers to finally wean consumers from paper statements and checks. Slower mail delivery times will result in statements being delivered late, compounded by delays when sending a check back to the biller. The key will be for billers to educate consumers on the benefits of going paperless, especially the speed and security inherent with digital forms of billing and payment. We’re anticipating increased usage of ACI’s marketing resource center, which includes turn-key marketing campaigns our billers can use to educate consumers and drive digital adoption.
  • Savvy billers will continue to expand the payment channels and methods available to their customers, recognizing that offering choices in how they send (and receive) money is quickly becoming table stakes. This will present challenges for those using disparate, siloed billing and payment providers, complicating their reconciliation and other back-office processes. More billers will look for partners that offer the payments diversity their customers demand while simplifying the process for their staff.

-Michael Grillo, Vice President, Head of Marketing

While billers are glad to see the storms of 2021 pass by, they still need to prepare for more uncertain climates ahead. Offering the payment choices and speed today’s consumer wants is no longer an option, it’s an expectation. Taking the time to learn more about consumer preferences and trends for their industry is the first step billers should take when developing their strategy to meet these rising expectations.

The 2020s are off to a roaring start. How have these dynamic times changed how consumers prefer to receive and pay their bills? Get more details in the latest Billing and Payment Trends and Behaviors report from ACI Speedpay.

Director, Product Marketing

Steve is a seasoned marketing professional with an extensive background in driving usage and adoption of financial products and services including credit cards, mobile/online bill payment, and card-based reward programs.