Organizations ranging from utilities and healthcare providers to retailers and government agencies are now more frequently using online bill payment software to more easily collect money from clients and customers. While these solutions can dramatically simplify operations, they also present companies with a new set of related concerns regarding their enterprise storage and data protection options.
So far, online bill payment systems are underutilized in Canada. Jamie McDonald, co-founder of Web-based payment system Hubdoc, told The Toronto Star in August that between 10 and 15 percent of Canadians regularly receive their bills online. However, if Canada Posts’ experiences are any indication, these services are likely to become far more popular in the months and years ahead. Approximately 8 million have signed up for Canada Post’s e-billing service, and about 14 million people in the country use online banking solutions, according to The Star.
“I love paying bills online, since I avoid having to get statements by mail and send them back by mail,” wrote Toronto Star financial columnist Ellen Roseman. “Goodbye, cheques. Goodbye, stamps. Hello, savings in time and money. While I defend a customer’s right to receive bills in the mail without fees, I’m personally pleased to go paperless. I use my bank’s website to pay online.”
Behind-the-scenes problems of online bill pay
As more companies and people like Roseman clamor for these conveniences, some organizations may find that they are ill-equipped to effectively handle an online bill paying format. In particular, businesses that rely on legacy compliance solutions will have to upgrade their enterprise storage schemes in order to effectively handle an influx of sensitive payment information. Additionally, rules established by organizations such as the Payment Card Industry and the Canadian Payments Association require different data protection solutions from companies.
“The public expects that merchants and financial institutions will protect payment card data to thwart data theft and prevent unauthorized use,” according to the PCI Security Standards Council.
Complicating matters even further is the rise of mobile devices. Increasingly, Canadians expect the same services on their smartphone and tablet as what they receive on their desktop and laptop. As such, organizations offering online bill pay likely need to make sure those same services can adequately store and protect data coming from these kind of endpoints as well.
For some businesses, the hassles related to upgrading enterprise storage systems and updating data protection schemes in order to offer online bill pay may be too much to bear. However, by turning to a managed IT services provider like FlexITy, these companies can more easily get the data storage and compliance solutions needed to offer safe and reliable e-billing to clients and customers.