Most people dread tax season — a typically chaotic time of year when we scramble to get our documents organized in a timely and accurate manner. Some of us get them done early, while others wait until the last minute.
After the weight of filing has been lifted, many consumers look forward to receiving tax refunds and using them to splurge on things they've been eyeing for some time. However, other consumers choose to use the "extra" funds to pay off debt, such as credit cards, personal loans or mortgage payments. With the potential for a spike in consumers paying down their debt during tax season, lenders should take full advantage and make the payment process as seamless as possible. Here's how.
How Lenders Should Prepare
Now is the time to prepare for tax-refund season and maximize business opportunities. Customer demands are changing and they value speed, security and, most of all, convenience. Lenders can simplify the borrower experience and pave the way for a profitable season by offering various payment options that appeal to their customers. With more payment methods to choose from, they'll be more inclined to pay down their debt.
ACH, cash and paper checks are three tried-and-true payment methods. However, across the globe, people have abandoned paper checks in favor of digital payments for ease and speed. In the U.S., consumer paper checks currently account for less than 7% of all transactions. Not everyone has access to a bank account for ACH and not everyone wants to carry large amounts of cash. And lenders certainly don't want to turn away a payment.
A robust selection of payment options will support multiple channels so borrowers can pay their way. Here are additional payment methods that can help the credit and lending industries get the most out of tax season.
Out with the Old ...
While cash use has declined in favor of contactless payment methods, some borrowers still prefer it because cash payments are instant and guaranteed. However, while there is no risk of returns, cash can be expensive for a business to process and inconvenient for borrowers.
Automated Clearing House (ACH)
Borrowers use their routing and account numbers to pay from a bank account without the need for a paper check. Convenient for card-not-present transactions, ACH is a lower-cost alternative for businesses than card payments.
… In with the Modern
Historically, making a down payment on a new car or paying off a loan required the borrower to come into the dealership or lender location. But thanks to modern technology, in-person payments are becoming a thing of the past. Instead, borrowers can pay from anywhere without assistance.
Whether swiped in person or remotely keyed into a web portal, debit cards pull funds directly from a bank account, limiting the transaction to the balance that is available. Accepting debit cards enables lenders to effortlessly accept card payments via a customer’s mobile phone, digital wallet, text and more.
Interactive Voice Response (IVR)
IVR is a unique toll-free phone number assigned to a business that a borrower can call to confirm the balance due and make a payment toward it. Featuring easy-to-follow prompts and multiple language support, borrowers can pay with a few taps on their phone’s keypad.
Mobile payment apps are downloaded from the app store and accessed from a borrower's phone. They can often be customized to your unique branding and offer borrowers a convenient and secure way to pay using stored payment information. Mobile apps provide payment history reports — a single source to view multiple accounts from one place with real-time balance updates.
One text is all it takes to make a payment. Text Pay sends a text when payment is due, to which the borrower responds with "PAY." No login needed! Borrowers can easily communicate with support and convenient payment reminders help increase collections and on-time payments.
Online portals are always available and allow borrowers to make one-time payments or register as users for recurring payments. Branded payment portals securely store card and ACH payment data for future use. Additionally, through realtime reporting, borrowers can track how close they are to paying off their loans.
Sending automated messages to borrowers via email or text is more than just an opportunity to gently remind them that they have an upcoming payment due. It also allows lenders to include helpful links to easily make payments. Customers can securely and immediately click on the payment link within a text or email, increasing the chance that they won't just pay, but pay on time. Implementing payment link support requires little effort on the lender's side and provides customers with flexibility and an omni-channel experience.
For borrowers who don't want the burden of dealing with cash, eCash is an online payment solution that converts cash to digital payments. This method streamlines payment acceptance, enabling customers to pay their loans or bills using cash at participating payment locations in major convenience stores, pharmacies and dollar stores.
A Faster Way to Payoff
Supporting anywhere, anytime payments allows borrowers to put their tax refunds toward their debt without hassle. Omni-channel payment technology means borrowers can use their preferred method to pay and, most importantly, you never have to turn away a payment. It's time to offer customers more modern payment choices from REPAY. Contact us today to learn more.