If you’ve ever received a loan, a claim payment, or compensation from your employer, you’ve felt the importance of business-to-consumer (B2C) disbursements. This category of payments has changed considerably in the past few years and, with trends like instant payments and even greater consumer choice on the horizon, the rate of change is likely to increase. Representing approximately $10.7T worth of payment flows in the United States, notable segments within the B2C landscape include payroll, insurance claim payments, refunds, consumer lending, the gig economy, online marketplaces, and more.1 Businesses making these disbursements can cut costs and improve their customer experience by modernizing their disbursement experience to match today’s consumer preferences.
Contrary to popular belief that paper checks are rarely used, paper checks remain a surprisingly common means of making disbursements. This is particularly true in certain use cases and industries, such as patient refunds within healthcare. One study estimated that approximately 74% of healthcare refunds within the United States are made with paper checks.2
Companies making disbursements at nearly any volume should avoid paper checks because they’re a deceptively expensive mode of payment. Cost estimates for administering check refunds vary widely, ranging from $4 to $20 per check.3 A disburser’s true cost per check depends on several variables, including industry, use case, volume, operational efficiency, labor costs, and much more. Another significant and oft-overlooked cost driver is compliance with state-by-state abandoned property escheatment laws. Even at the lower end of the cost-per-check spectrum, these cost estimates are multiples of the cost to make disbursements digitally.
Another reason to avoid paper checks: consumers don’t want to receive payments via check. According to a recent study on consumer payment choice, 18-24-year-olds used checks as their payment instrument of choice less than 1% of the time.4 The same study observed that checks were most popular amongst the 65 and older cohort, yet still represented just 13% of payment instrument usage in this cohort. With so few consumers making payments via check, it’s safe to assume that a similarly low percentage of consumers expect to receive disbursements via check. Whether for claims payments, marketplace payouts, or healthcare refunds, companies can improve the customer experience while cutting costs by digitizing their disbursements.
A Customer-Centric B2C Solution
A new approach to converting check B2C payments into digital payments has emerged. We recently employed this solution to drive approximately 70% of a client’s checks into digital disbursements.5 When considered alongside the reduction in per check costs, disbursers stand to save substantially while modernizing their experience for recipients.
Due to the rise in spam attempts over the past several years, it’s essential to make touchpoints feel familiar as consumers are understandably wary of texts and emails promising them money they’re owed. Our solution customizes recipient touchpoints, capitalizing on payer brand recognition to drive adoption. Communications are customized with familiar payer brand markers like logos, images, and colors.
To learn how you can save by digitizing B2C disbursements, please contact Jeff Gill, XUP’s Head of Healthcare at [email protected].
1. US fintechs transform B2C payments by streamlining customer experience | Electronic Payments International
2. US Patient Refunds: A Market Sizing | Aite-Novarica Group
3. U.S. Companies Cling to Paper Checks | The Wall Street Journal
4. 2021 Findings from the Diary of Consumer Payment Choice | Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco
5. KeyBank client experience