Text-to-pay is self-explanatory: It’s when you pay by sending a text. It’s also something that more and more small businesses want to offer to their customers. Community banks can make it happen by partnering with merchant service providers, benefiting customers, small businesses and community banks themselves.
Joan Kuykendall, president and COO of Ironwood Strategic LLC in Oxford, Miss., which specializes in merchant services for community financial institutions, explains that with the text-to-pay capability, a business sends a message to a customer that includes a link, allowing the customer to make a secure payment from their device.
“It goes directly to the customer’s mobile device and allows them to pay instantly,” Kuykendall says. “It’s convenient for the business and customer.”
Country Club Bank in Kansas City, Mo., offers text-to-pay capabilities to its business customers as part of its overall merchant services platform provided by Ironwood, says Stephanie Mallory, the $2.2 billion-asset community bank’s vice president, manager of treasury services.
“Our business clients value operational efficiencies, customer satisfaction and convenience,” she says. “We collaborate with them on strategies to help accomplish this.”
Streamlined for customers
Advances in payment innovations like text-to-pay deliver a simple, streamlined service that can add value to both the business and its customer, she says. Accepting payments is easy, and receivable collections may improve. In addition, it’s just as easy and straightforward for consumers to use.
“We’re all looking for convenience and options with payments, whether we are a business owner or a consumer. This is another tool that offers both.”
—Stephanie Mallory, Country Club Bank
“We’re all looking for convenience and options with payments, whether we are a business owner or a consumer,” Mallory says. “This is another tool that offers both.”
Text-to-pay can increase payment activity, shorten the time to get paid for businesses and provide the seamless experience that consumers are demanding, Kuykendall says. Statistics show a much higher open rate for text messages than email, and customers are likely to pay more quickly. In addition, text-to-pay features automated functions, like recurring billing, that decrease time spent on administrative tasks.
“It also gives businesses an additional avenue to directly market to their target audience, giving them a competitive advantage,” she says.
A differentiating factor
The pandemic increased the need for contactless payment options, and solutions like text-to-pay have become sought-after trends among business owners, Kuykendall says.
“Text-to-pay is a powerful solution that benefits businesses by streamlining the payment process and decreasing the payment cycle,” she says. “It’s convenient, fast and secure and enhances the customer experience. It’s just one example of many payment solutions that can help make running a business easier.”
In today’s competitive landscape, community banks should use every opportunity to set themselves apart. “It’s important for a community bank to offer competitive solutions to help their business customers grow,” Kuykendall says. “Offering the latest payment technology and solutions in a consultative and proactive manner helps community banks stand out among their competitors.”
As a community bank, Country Club Bank doesn’t exist “just to process transactions,” says Mallory. The bank seeks to “build relationships and be a committed partner for its clients.”
The bank’s business customers need to spend their days focusing on their business rather than finding new payment options, she says. Country Club Bank adds value by bringing the expertise, advice and solutions that improve their operations “so they can focus on what matters most.”
“Introducing new payment innovations that become a game changer for their business strengthens our partnership for the long term,” Mallory says. “We are invested in their success with the capabilities to help them grow.”
“Contactless payment solutions like text-to-pay are a great fit for any industry or business that features recurring billing.
—Joan Kuykendall, Ironwood Strategic
The key to offering and marketing these solutions is for community banks to first understand their business customers and the payment trends that will affect their businesses, Kuykendall says.
“Every business is different,” she says. “Contactless payment solutions like text-to-pay are a great fit for any industry or business that features recurring billing, but it can also be used for one-time payments.”
Text-to-pay options can be a particularly good fit for many business types such as auto repair shops, medical practices, salons, retail stores, restaurants or any business that offers subscription-based products and services, Kuykendall says.
Community banks can offer these services through third-party relationships with vendors that offer text-to-pay as a standalone product, she says. However, they may also find they already have access to options for text-to-pay in their existing merchant services program, such as existing products that include sending an invoice as a text as an option.
“Community banks will need to partner with a provider who understands their bank culture and offers solutions that can be tailored to their customers’ needs,” Kuykendall says. “The partner also needs to provide exceptional customer service, sales and marketing support.”