Reliant Energy to Accept MasterCard Cards for Small and Mid-size Commercial Customer Bill Payments
Growing preference for electronic payments drives opportunities for utilities to increase customer satisfaction and operational efficiencies, while driving bottom line benefits
Purchase, NY.- MasterCard Worldwide today announced that Texas-based electricity and energy services provider Reliant Energy is now accepting MasterCard cards for bill payments from its small and mid-size commercial customers as part of its existing electronic payment card program. By participating in the MasterCard Utility Industry Program, Reliant Energy is the latest in a growing list of utility service providers to accept MasterCard card payments from its commercial customers as a means to generate greater operational efficiencies, increase revenue and improve customer satisfaction.
“We’ve offered other electronic payment card options to our customers for some time now, but more and more of our small and mid-size commercial customers have expressed an interest in using a MasterCard, so we have responded by adding it as an additional payment card option,” said Elizabeth Killinger, vice president, Retail Operations, Reliant Energy. “Our commercial customers appreciate the convenience and flexibility of paying their electricity bills with a payment card, as a way to save time and money and to manage their businesses more efficiently. We see partnering with MasterCard as an attractive opportunity to provide solutions for our small and mid-size business customers.”
Reliant Energy has offered electronic payment options, including fee-free card-based payments, to its residential customer base since 2001.With this announcement, Reliant Energy’s small and mid-size commercial customers can now also make one-time payments and recurring payments using a MasterCard card.
Consumer preference for electronic payments to pay bills continues to grow, alongside a growing trend towards recurring payments. From 2001 to 2008, paper-based payments decreased from 78 percent to 38 percent of all bill payments, according to a 2008 study by Hitachi Consulting, while electronic payments grew from 22 percent to 62 percent. According to MasterCard research, 43 percent of credit cardholders and 54 percent of debit cardholders use or would consider recurring payments, and 30 percent would switch service providers if a competitor offered recurring payments.
“By offering the option to pay their bills with a MasterCard card, Reliant Energy is providing its small and mid-size commercial customers with a convenient way to track their payments through monthly statements, earn rewards, and avoid the hassles and postage costs of paying by check,” said Mathias Lilja, vice president, U.S. Commerce Development, MasterCard Worldwide. "As customer preference to pay bills electronically continues to grow, we are pleased that Reliant Energy sees value in a program that will meet its customers’ demands for added payment flexibility and deliver broad operational efficiencies and cost savings.”
In 2006, MasterCard introduced its Utility Industry Program, which offers targeted incentives to utility providers through special merchant interchange rates, reduced fee structures and specialized service industry support services, making it increasingly beneficial for utilities to accept MasterCard payment cards and offer them as a payment option to their customers. MasterCard also has in place similar programs with merchants in the rent and property management, telecommunications, cable and insurance categories.
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