Your bills: Do they prompt payment or end up in a pile on the desk?

Bills on desk shutterstock_148014293Collecting payment is an integral part of your institution’s business, as is the production and distribution of bills. There are multiple things your school can do that may make billing a success (‘success’ as measured by on-time payments).

  1. Provide Options to Pay

It’s no secret that a quality education is a big ticket item. Getting that bill in the mail can be shock inducing for payers who wonder “how can I afford this?” Higher education may be of high importance, but without an attainable plan to pay, it can be one that is out of reach for many.

How do you help with sticker shock on tuition bills, before shock turns into non-payment?

Offer affordability counseling!  Ensure your students and payers understand the options your school offers to pay bills, and how to go about accessing and availing themselves of financial assistance. Help them make a sustainable plan to pay and avoid delinquency!

Clear messaging on your bills is prime space to provide options to get the bill paid, and to offer other important school-specific messages, links to school websites, as well as access to a counseling hotline.

  1. Clear, understandable bills

A confusing bill leads to frustration, and may cause late payment or even nonpayment. As a collector of payments and a distributor of bills, your institution has a big stake in the billing game. Great billing practices can lead to more on-time payments!

Are your bill statements following the best practices of bill structure and presentment?

To find out, ask yourself these questions:

  • Is the full amount due prominent and easy to read?
  • If you are providing a remittance, is all the pertinent information provided?
    • Amount Due
    • Bill Due Date
    • Payment Methods
    • Statement Date
    • Student ID (if applicable)
  • Is there a highly visible section to display important school messages?
  • Do you display transaction information in a way that is easy to read and understand?
  • Is there enough white space on the bill to make it easy to read and well organized?
  • Does your bill give payers options- such as what to do if they cannot pay the full amount?

If you can check off yes to all of those questions, you are on your way to success- as well as to the next question:

How do I send the bill? Paper or eBill…which is best?

Paper bills were once the best (and only!) way to communicate with your customers. You would mail out a monthly bill and wait for a check for payment. Today, most customers prefer electronic payment methods (simple, secure and convenient)– and doesn’t it make sense that they would also prefer an electronic bill to go along with it?

What are the benefits of eBills?

  • Cost reduction- no more production and mailing costs for your institution
  • Environmentally friendly- going green is a great way to conserve energy and resources
  • Workload reduction- an eBill is simple to process
  • Data- eBills can allow you to track when the bill was sent, received, opened (as well as click rates)
  • Increased on-time payment with online payment - eBills provide links directly to your payment site, so bills can be read and payments made within moments of receipt

Now that you have the right questions to ask, take a moment to be sure your bills are doing their job for your institution. To help get you started, please download our free eBooks:

Creating Bills that Prompt Payments and A Guide Towards a Paperless Campus- How to Cut Costs and Boost Effectiveness by Going Digital.

 

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