Banks and online payment companies are moving more functions to their main Web pages and limiting the amount of navigation needed to access bill presentment, information and payment features.
"Anything that you put in front of a user in which they don't have to migrate somewhere else will get used more often," said Pete Hopkins, the general manager of Jack Henry & Associates Inc.'s Internet solutions division, which plans to upgrade its electronic bill-pay offering in the coming months to enable pending bills to be viewed and executed directly on a bank's landing page. It's part of a larger project that will also increase bank-to-bank transfers and other landing-page capabilities.
The initiatives are designed to give bill pay a starring role in a Web strategy that makes the landing page a "single stop" — including direct payments, planning, transfers and deposits.
"The landing-page concept is to show all bills coming due, make them easy to track based on when you're paying bills and ensure the user isn't flipping back and forth [from bill pay to Web banking] on the PC to see what their balance is," said Jeff Lewis, a senior vice president at Fidelity National Information Services Inc.
The vendor is introducing a new bill-pay product that uses task-oriented configurable modules to help consumers manage bill payment, such as a "bill rack" that organizes all bills by due dates; a landing page with a central location that facilitates payments to existing and new payees; and a balance work sheet.
FIS' rival Fiserv Inc. has leveraged Ajax (a Web-development technique) as part of a recent upgrade that allows users to make payments without having to navigate away from the Web banking page. "The banks that will win are those who present a form in which the consumer has more control," said Lani Hayward, the executive vice president of creative strategies for Umpqua Holdings Inc., which will introduce in April a "one-page view" that includes balances for all accounts, a view into recent activity, scheduled payments and transfers, bills and alerts; e-mail messages from the bank; and mobile banking. Fiserv will service the back end.
Liza Landsman, Citigroup Inc.'s managing director for Internet and mobile for North American consumers, said the "one-stop" model also has ramifications for mobile financial services. "The design constraints on mobile are different than the Web," Landsman said. "If every time you do something new, you have to load a new page, it's difficult from a consumer-adoption perspective."