If you are like most consumers, you probably receive bills in the mail and pay them by check. Traditional bill delivery and payment is a process that involves a lot of paper – from the printing of the bills to the mailing, it is a costly process. Many companies and banks are looking at easier ways to present bills and receive payments electronically, using various protocols. One of these protocols is EBPP, which stands for Electronic Bill Presentment and Payment.
In contrast to traditional billing methods, EBPP does not use the mail system as a delivery mechanism for presenting your bills. Instead, it uses the internet to present bills via a variety of delivery methods: through email, on your mobile phone, or directly to your personal digital assistant. Although buying products over the web with a credit card has become a pretty everyday occurrence, receiving and paying bills is not as widespread. EBPP is expected to change that model dramatically and has useful applications for many industries, including financial service providers, utility companies, and telecommunications companies.
The main obstacle to the widespread adoption of EBPP is the lack of a standard protocol for billing systems and process between banks and financial institutions. Most banks, utility companies and financial service providers have their own services for bill tracking, payment and bill presentation, including web services and getting these systems to integrate with one another is a complex process. Many of these institutions have resisted implementing EBPP, because they would prefer to market their own services to their customer base. Like the battle over credit card transactions in the nineties, disputes over adopting uniform security standards are a big obstacle to the widespread adoption of the EBPP protocol. However, many experts predict that these obstacles will melt away as customers who want the convenience of immediate access to bill payments and drive the adoption of a standard system.