Electronic billing has hit Australian shores with the emergence of e-BILL, a subsidiary of outsource billing service provider HPA.
This is in response to an increasing desire from major billing services to satisfy a client's need to pay all bills on the one site, claims Rob Charlton, general manager of e-BILL.
To this end, e-BILL is developing a central Web site with the assistance of HPA and with business process input from electric company North Power and service provider WorldxChange. Charlton suggests that this centrality will encourage competitors and consumers, who might even have their own Internet billing services, to utilise the combined service rather than pay separate bills over a variety of sites.
Charlton is anticipating that Australia will be an excellent environment in which to launch the operation in the second half of this year, because it has such a high level of outsourcing. Charlton is expecting that in "five to 10 years there will be a 50/50 split between paper and the Internet".
However, this statistic is dependent upon the ability of companies such as e-BILL to assuage doubts that Australian businesses have regarding the "security and privacy of Internet billing. This means that the market will take up the service in a segmented way," claims Charlton.
Charlton believes that convincing the banks of the viability of the scheme will be the first step, even prior to a concerted education and marketing campaign. "Banks will lend credence to the scheme," asserts Charlton. Banks of course have an ulterior motive as Internet billing is, according to Charlton, a much cheaper and more efficient system than the traditional paper and post methods.