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Electronic bill presentment and payment (EBPP) is the presentment and payment of bills over an electronic system. In the past decade, EBPP has become the preferred payment arrangement for millions of consumers and businesses worldwide. Instead of bothering with snail mail, they can conveniently receive and pay bills online. But how does this payment system impact a merchant? Compared to systems that involve paper, it offers the following benefits:

• Reduced administrative cost due to automated processing
• Reduced cost of supplies due non-paper billing
• Easier storage and retrieval of information
• Expedited transfer of funds from customer to merchant
• Opportunity to improve customer service

Of these benefits, the opportunity to improve customer service gives EBPP its greatest business appeal. Prior to EBPP, customers had difficulty organizing payment information and disputing payments. In addition to searching through accordion style file folders, they spent abysmal hours on the telephone hashing out payment disputes. In one respect, these annoyances benefited merchants: customers were less likely to dispute a payment. But they ultimately constituted a drawback: instead of paying by mail, some consumers decided to pay by cash – a decision that limited merchants’ ability to reach a broad customer base.

EBPP Then and Now

The scenario above represents the discussion of EBPP as it existed almost a decade ago. Today, little is remarked about the benefits of receiving and paying bills online; they are well known. Yet, there are still merchants who don’t use online payment systems, and the reason why might be surprising: they consider themselves businesses that sell locally and have little need of selling online.

The decision to sell online is less novel than it used to be, but it is no less momentous in terms of revenue growth. According to a report by the U.S. Commerce Department, ecommerce sales exceeded $165 million in 2010 – an almost 15% increase from 2009. Behind this statistic are statistics that might surprise local merchants, particularly: according to a 2010 report by Leisure Trends Group, one-third of active Americans would rather shop online than in a store, even when stores that have what they want are located nearby. A similar statistic exists for shoppers in the UK.

For small businesses that sell to consumers, this means that not selling online not only eliminates the chance to sell to remote consumers; it also eliminates the chance to sell to local ones. Regardless of its size, a business that sells products that are easily shippable can benefit from selling online.

AVPS has the EBPP Accounts You Need

If your business doesn’t accept online payments, it may be missing out on significant revenue. AVPS can help it capture this revenue by providing the right online processing accounts. Accepting online payments is a reality of modern business, and AVPS can help you make it happen.

For over 25 years, AVPS has provided small and large businesses with the merchant accounts they need to succeed. To learn how we can help your business, call us today.

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