The world of billing and payments will take another step forward in 2013 and billers and financial institutions are in a prime position to harness changes and to make customer relationships more intimate and profitable, says Fiserv, the technology-solutions provider. The company has just released its five predictions for the billing and payments market for 2013:

1. Mobile billing and payment will continue to grow. It is driven by the customer’s need to have anytime, anywhere access to their information. Thanks to the evolutions of the tablet and smart phone more and more consumers will leverage these devices to access their finances. Half of online households have a smartphone and the number of people paying bills via smartphone increased 41 percent compared to 2011 mobile bill payment activity.

2. Billers and financial institutions will have to adapt to the needs of mobile consumers. Billers and financial institutions will be faced with managing the billing and payment preferences of today’s hyper-changing consumer habits, especially with mobile. More and more consumers will leverage tablets and apps in order to conveniently access and manage their billing and payment needs.

3. Paperless e-billing will hit a milestone. Mobile will be a catalyst for growth, providing the critical value added differentiator over the paper bill and overcoming the number one barrier to adoption – reminder to pay the bills. The average penetration of (paperless) e-billing for billers will hit 20 percent in 2013. Most billers can expect to see penetration increase by 3-5 percent from current levels by 2013. 

4. Consumer usage of plastic to pay bills will increase. This bill-payment behavior will increase primarily because consumers will use credit cards as a way to maximize their reward/loyalty points. In addition, there will be an increase in the use of prepaid cards (among those who use prepaid cards). This is especially true now that over half of consumers don’t use or rarely carry checkbooks.

5. Social payments will continue to gain momentum. The opportunity for social payments, such as person-to-person payments or digital wallets is large and their popularity will continue to grow.