Helping Customers PAY INSTANTLY
Learn how Pay by Text — a service for Western Union®
Speedpay® clients — helped an energy supplier offer its
customers a faster, more convenient way to pay their bills.
Help an energy supplier expand its mobile-payment options.
Provide customers the ability to authorize payments in a matter of seconds
with Pay by Text — a value-add service for billers that use Western Union®
• On average, within 24 hours of a text being sent, 23 percent of notified
customers (330 people) made a payment.
• Within 30 minutes of a text being sent, 114 customers made a payment.
• 1,300 customers enrolled in the Pay by Text program as of late 2011.
• The service distinguished the company as a leader in utility customer
American consumers are relying on their mobile devices in record numbers.
As of 2010, 85 percent of Americans own a cell phone, up from 65 percent
just six years earlier.1 And as the amount of consumers using mobile phones
continues to grow, so too does the demand for mobile payment options.
Eighty percent of Gen Y mobile-device owners report using text messaging2 and texting is also on the rise among the 35-plus crowd.3 In all, 72
percent of adults with mobile devices use text messaging.4 Among smartphone owners, the rate is even higher at 87 percent.2
Given this, Western Union wanted to help one of its Speedpay clients —
an energy supplier serving the Western United States — expand mobilefriendly payment options for its customers. In July 2010, Western Union
began working with the supplier to implement Pay by Text, a value-add
service for businesses using Speedpay.
When customers opt to sign up for Pay by Text, they are taken to an online
site where they enter payment information. Payments are then debited from a
savings or checking account or charged through a credit, debit or ATM card.
1. Source: Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project, August 9-September
13, 2010 Tracking Survey
2. Source: Javelin Strategy & Research, 2009
3. Source: eMarketer, MMA
ource: Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project, April 29-May 30,
2010 Tracking Survey
“IT WAS ALMOST
PROCESS TO US.
DID MOST OF THE
Enabled Pay By Text Users
Although there was a clear appetite
for text payments, the energy supplier needed to build awareness of
the new service. With this in mind,
Western Union designed Pay by
Text advertisements for the energy
supplier’s website and bill inserts and marketed the new service on the
interactive voice response (IVR) system. All communications — which were
subject to the energy supplier’s approval — highlighted that Pay by Text
could help customers save time and make paying bills more convenient.
The customer then receives a text
message five days before their energy bill is due as a reminder to make
a payment. If customers reply to the
text using standard keywords, such
as “YES PAY,” it automatically triggers the payment process — eliminating the transfer of unencrypted
sensitive financial information over
text message channels.
“It’s absolutely amazing the way the [implementation] process flowed,” says
the remittance supervisor who oversaw the project on the energy supplier’s
side. “Because we were already associated with Western Union Speedpay,
our payment process didn’t change. It was just another payment option for
our customers. It was almost a seamless process to us. Western Union did
most of the heavy lifting.”
It took the energy company about six months to build a high level of
awareness around the Pay by Text service. In 2010, there were fewer than
100 people enrolled in the program. By late 2011, 1,300 participants had
signed up. Of the 1,300 customers now enrolled, 267 had not used one of
the energy supplier’s Western Union electronic payment systems before.
JAMIE K. HAMILTON
199 Water Street, 29th Floor
New York, NY 10038
PAY TO THE
Email Address: [email protected]
via Speedpay IVR
Customer provides cell
phone number and email
Customer enters payment
information or opts to use
payment info on file
text message stating
payment is due
to text message to
Now, 23 percent of notified customers pay via text message within 24
hours. Within 10 days of receiving the text notification, about 58 percent of
customers pay their bills electronically.
Even when customers use other channels to make
a payment, the text reminder can help to speed
up the payment process, since the average time
it takes someone to view a text after deployment
is one to five minutes versus one to two days for
Of notified customers who made a payment, 55
percent paid via text message and the remaining 45 percent ended up using other self-service
channels — with IVR being the most popular. Regardless of which channel customers use, there is
a consistent uptick in payment transactions three
days after each text message is sent.
• Promote the Pay by Text option
throughout communications — including
the company website and by training
sales representatives — to maximize
• Offer a mobile payment reminder and/or
payment option to increase the number
of customers who use mobile, online and
phone self-service payment options.
• Use a bill due-date reminder — such as
a text message — that gives customers
ample time to make a timely payment.
For the energy supplier, the results show that they
are taking the right steps to adapt to the changing
needs of customers. “I think it shows that — especially in this economy — we’re trying to make it as easy as possible for all
of our customers,” says the remittance supervisor for the energy supplier.
“It’s just been a great benefit. There’s been a cost savings to us and added
convenience to the customer.”
5. Source: Based on comments made by Richard Crone, Principal, Crone Consulting, as captured in “Mobile Retailing Dissected At
NRFtech Panel Discussion,” Retail TouchPoints, August 2009
Pay By Text Enabled Notifications
1,300 TOTAL CUSTOMERS
92% have transacted at
least once through an
20% had never used the
energy supplier’s Western
Union electronic payment