Egyptians looking for easier way to pay the bills

Theodore May
4 Min Read

According to a recent survey, Egyptians overwhelmingly say they want a simpler, more streamlined way to pay their bills.

The study was conducted by Ipsos Marketing Research for Fawry, a company launched last year that specializes in electronic bill payments.

While Ipsos did not release the profile of the respondents, it did say that they were Egyptians surveyed in Cairo, Alexandria, and Saudi Arabia.

Of those surveyed, 85.6 percent said they wanted a more efficient way to pay their bills while 84 percent said they delegate their payment to someone else.

Much of the study centered around the idea that the average Egyptian has tens of bills to pay monthly – from telephone, to mobile, to utilities, to internet – and that the lack of a streamlined process means that bill payment has become a time-consuming venture.

“The research clearly shows that existing channels of bill payment, although varied, still lack convenience and simplicity for Egyptians who tend to be overwhelmed with the large number of monthly, quarterly and annual bills within their households, said Ashraf Sabry, Fawry CEO.

Sabry noted that the problem is magnified when multiple members of the same household owe bills for one service, like mobile phone usage.

A total of 60.3 percent and 58.2 percent of respondents said that they preferred to send someone else to pay their electricity and water bills, respectively. The next most popular method for paying these bills was home collection, though Ipsos noted that consumers expressed a worry over privacy.

By all indications, the Egyptian consumer is becoming more savvy and more inclined to forge relationships of greater complexity with banking institutions. Bill payment methods, though, still lag behind. Most Egyptian consumers still rely on basic and inefficient methods to pay their bills.

“Respondents shared their views on a single, unified bill presentment and payment service, said Sabry, “that would allow them to manage and pay all their bills while receiving receipts for their payments.

Sabry said that Egypt needs to begin exploring options for alternative bill payment more aggressively. Among the means by which consumers might be able to pay bills, Sabry noted internet, mobile phone, call centers, and ATM as key to the future of simplified bill payment.

One of the major challenges in promoting new methods of bill payment is that until the system is unified and consumers can pay all their bills through one or two easy outlets, the system will remain complicated even as technology ratchets up. In other words, it’s not just a technological improvement that’s needed, it’s the streamlining of the technology that will make life simpler for the consumers.

What remains unclear from the Ipsos survey, though, is the socioeconomic profile of the respondent. While increasing numbers of Egyptians forge relationships with banks every day, many rural Egyptians do not bank, use prepaid mobile lines, and don’t have an internet connection in their house.

For these consumers, streamlined bill payment methods are likely far out of their orbit.

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