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National Fuel Gas Joins Growing List of Utilities Embracing Expanded Payment Options

With nearly two million natural gas customers in western New York and northwestern Pennsylvania on its roster, National Fuel Gas — like many of its peers — is looking to increase customer satisfaction by enabling a suite of modern digital payment and connectivity options.

By replacing its previous online portal with a new bill pay portal that includes text and phone capabilities, National Fuel is also looking to reduce late and lost payments by allowing customers to pay where, when and how they want. The options include pay by phone, pay by text, pay online and the ability to pay using PayPal and other digital banking services. The portal also enables customers to set payment reminders for email and text.

Enhancing the Customer Experience

“National Fuel is continuously looking for ways to enhance our customer experience,” National Fuel President Donna L. DeCarolis said when announcing the launch of the portal via its partnership with InvoiceCloud, calling the upgrades fast, easy to use, easy to navigate accessible and secure.

A PYMNTS study found that the share of U.S. consumers who use digital channels to shop has surged nearly fourfold since the pandemic began. Close to half are now using such channels to purchase retail products, and are actively seeking new digital connectivity in the rest of their lives.

See also: A New Approach for Modernizing Payments in Banking

Online Shopping Habits

These changes are not just temporary adaptations. Three-quarters of U.S. consumers plan to maintain the online shopping habits they adopted during the pandemic after it subsides.

PYMNTS data also showed that merchants that use legacy methods to deliver paper bills in the mail each month see their late payment risk rise with each additional step customers are required to take in order to pay.

Read more: Deep Dive: How Billers Can Offer More Compelling Automatic Payment Experiences

Pain points like these have made utilities and other mass-billers eager to offer automatic bill payment options that avail subscribers of the burden to pay.

EngageSmart, the Software-as-a-Service firm that offers the InvoiceCloud solution, is looking to ride this trend to a New York Stock Exchange listing, which it announced on Aug. 27.

Learn more: SaaS EngageSmart Moves Forward With IPO Plans

Ahead of its IPO, EngageSmart reported that it now services over 68,000 customers in the small- and medium-sized business (SMB) space, as well as more than 3,000 firms in health and wellness, government, utilities, financial services and charitable giving.

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