Online bill payment is not new to India. Infact, I remember ICICI Bank offering online bill paying facility way back in 2000-2001. However, not many used the facility back then. It is only in last 2-3 years that online payments have caught up in India, given the rapid growth (If I can call it) of Internet.
Living in US for 5 years, there was hardly an instance when I actually made a payment via cheque or cash – be it utility bills, newspaper bills, insurance premiums or even a co-pay to the doctor. 99% of the payment were done online.
India now seems to be rapidly catching up to this phenomenon. Not only are individuals more inclined on paying bills online, even the companies presenting the bills are pushing netizens by giving more importance to e-billing.
Just to give you an example – I had to pay my property taxes for 2007-2008 and had been postponing it for past 2 months given the hassle of going to the local Pune municipal corporation (PMC) office, waiting in line and handing the cheque. While looking at the bill yesterday, I noticed that PMC has started giving the facility of paying the taxes online. Not only did they allow online payments, one could view the complete property tax bill online. Within next 5 minutes, the payment had been done !
I was pleasantly surprised that even local city government offices are taking such proactive measures to push online payments in India.
In a recent study carried out by Assocham, – “e-Billing – a better option for convenience”, the findings show that e-billing business has grown by over 200% in last year and is expected to triple by 2009.
Here are some of the key finding from the report:
- Mumbai had taken the lead in e-billing since 28% of its population availed of e-billing transactions followed by 22% of Delhi, 12.5% of Chennai, 12% of Bangalore, and 5.2% of Hyderabad. In Pune, online payments are affected by about 5% of its total population and between 6-7% of Kolkata, 2.4% of Ahemdabad, 2.2% of Lucknow and about 2% of Indore
- 73% of online payers accesses the internet from home, while 79% from office; 36% from cyber cafes, 7% from friends’ place and 14% from mobile phone.
- 75% of cell phone possessor choose online medium for payment of their bills; 73% owners of landline telephones also opt for this medium for bills payment; 70% pay credit card bills online while 60% pay electricity bills online; 45% pay insurance premium online; 42% pay internet access bills with this medium while 29% pay for their magazine subscriptions online.
- 54% cited convenience as the most important reason for their patronizing e-billing; 35% cited time saving as they could pay bills without having to stand in line at a counter or even a bill payment centre; on an average, customers saved upto 80 hours a year and paying bills online reduced paperwork and was an easier way to manage bills.
- 46% online bill payers are between the age of 26-35, followed by 22% in the age 18-25 group; 20% are in the 36-45 age group, 11% in the 40-60 bracket and 2% in the 61+ age bracket.
- 83% online bill payers are male and 17% female; 43% are unmarried, 14% married with no kids and 43% are married with kids.
- By occupation, of online bill payers 3% are students while 6% are supervisors/officers, 64% are executives (including junior, middle and senior levels). 11% are professionals or self employed, 4% are businessmen/ industrialists, 1% are shop owners and 2% are housewives
Are there any readers who have not yet used the online payment facility?