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BillGO Insights: 1:1 with Ken Salazar

BillGO Insights: 1:1 with Ken Salazar

Ken Salazar is BillGO’s Chief Revenue Officer - meaning he is focused on driving revenue growth and expanding BillGO’s list of premier clients. When he joined BillGO, he brought extensive experience in card-based payments solutions, including having launched SilverEdge in 2004. He transformed SilverEdge from a scrappy startup into a highly-successful, scalable business - one eventually acquired by Madwire to extend its small-to-medium business offerings to payment acceptance.

We sat down with Salazar recently to discuss how he positions BillGO when talking to financial institution (FI) executives, how FIs can fully leverage bill pay data and what sets BillGO apart in the industry.

How do you convince an FI exec it’s time to upgrade bill pay tech they’ve been using for years?

I remind them it’s really all about their customers and what they are looking for. Look at the top three items that the consumers consistently mentioned in the How Americans Pay Their Bills, the study we did with Aite Group:

One: consumers want consolidation. They want to make it stupid-simple to be able to access all their bills in one spot.

Two, they want instantaneous payments and they want real-time confirmation numbers because most of them live paycheck to paycheck, so they want to pay bills on their timetable, not a bank’s. They also want to wait as long as possible before they make a payment without getting hit with a late fee.

And finally, they want choice in how they pay. “Let me pay with the payment modality I want to.”

Are there benefits beyond customer service?

I ask them “what is the cost of customer acquisition?” “How much does it cost your bank to bring customers into your mobile site, or to your app, or to your website?”  

In many cases, an FI’s marketing team can spend millions of dollars on acquiring customers, or expanding them to new products. Meanwhile, a modern bill pay platform can get a customer re-engaged up to three times faster.

On average, a user logs into their Prism account to pay a bill within two hours of getting a notification. So, I ask FIs to consider the viral effect of bill pay. It brings the user back into an FI’s ecosystem on a regular basis. And once they come back, there are now cross-selling opportunities because the FI knows more about the customer. Bill pay can help FIs identify other products that are relevant to their customers.

Meaning bill pay data can enhance the FI/customer relationship …  

Absolutely. We’re seeing that with many of the fintechs now working with banks. They care less about the payment piece of the relationship and more about the data bank bill pay can provide.

When I speak with FIs, I tell them “there is a lot you can do with this data.” Many don’t realize they can generate revenue through the bill pay data they have.

Bill pay data can identify those customers that shop at Nordstroms and those who shop at Walmart. With that knowledge, FIs can identify the sort of products that might appeal to Nordstroms shoppers and the products and services that appeal to Walmart customers.

What other key differentiators separate BillGO from our competitors?  

Our smart builder system offers a multifaceted approach making it easy to add billers.  

For instance, our biller activation tab enables users to simply enter a Zip Code and we provide consumers with other common billers in their area.  

But it isn’t limited to geography. Our app can also suggest billers based on preferences. If we see someone has a Spotify account, we may recommend Amazon, Hulu, or Netflix.  

Best of all: users can authenticate themselves with the biller. If someone has a Wells Fargo account, the BillGO app can authenticate the user and then connect them to their Wells Fargo account without requiring them to enter - or even know - their Wells Fargo account information.

How is BillGO supporting the growth of the digital wallet?

Again, let’s say you want to pay your bills through your bank. Right now, in most cases, you only one option of paying: your checking account.

With BillGO’s digital wallet functionality, you can hit a drop-down box and your entire wallet drops down to pay a bill. You can pay from your checking account, your debit card, an American Express card, or a Citi card. We can even connect to gift cards or a prepaid card.  

We empower the customer with that level of choice when paying bills.  

What are  E-rate costs and how is BillGO helping with those?

E-rates represents the percentage of checks that can be electronified and E-rate costs are something most FI executives are concerned about.

When bankers deploy a bank bill pay system, part of what they are investing in is the ability to convert paper checks into electronic payments - because paper checks are costly and take days, or even weeks, to settle.

FIs want to see paper checks electronified so we - as an industry - can remove paper from the ecosystem. But paper checks are still widely used. How Americans Pay Their Bills showed consumers pay bills with checks more than 2 billion times a year.  

We offer instantaneous payments and our technology can identify where we’ve gotten checks in the past. That enables us to quickly identify a biller or supplier in our network and electronify that check to increase the E-rate. BillGO can do this because we’ve got one of the largest biller networks out there - maybe the largest. We have over 16,000 different billers in our network and we add as many as 200 new billers each week.

Next Steps

Want to know more about what consumers crave in bill pay technology? Download BillGO’s new eBook, How Financial Institutions Can Win the Bill Payment Game. It’s loaded with the latest data about consumer bill pay preferences and identifies steps FIs can take to deliver on those preferences.  

Or contact BillGO to find out how we can help modernize your bill pay technology today.