January 13, 2020 by Greg Meckbach
As society becomes more accustomed to paying its bills using modern electronic methods, how should brokers respond?
“For the new consumer, they are so used to paying in many many different ways. We should be allowing customers to engage on their terms. Not on our terms,” said Danish Yusuf, co-founder and CEO of commercial brokerage Zensurance.
Toronto-based Zensurance lets its customers pay by e-transfer and PayPal – if they ask specifically, Yusuf said in an interview.
“A couple of times a week, a customer wants to pay by e-transfer. We allow it. It’s not an automated process. That’s why we don’t like it but customers do ask for it,” said Yusuf.
E-transfers are not as smooth and frictionless as credit card payments, suggests Yusuf.
Credit card is actually Zensurance’s preferred method of payment, despite a fee to the merchant.
“We are paying tens of thousands a month in credit card transactions fees but it’s worth it for us,” said Yusuf.
Credit card payments work well for Zensurance is it takes more time and effort to handle a cheque and because many customers want their policy issued as soon as possible.
“Then they mail out the cheque today. So you are on the hook in case they don’t send the cheque, in case it bounces or in case there is a typo.”
By contrast, if a customer pays by credit card, the brokerage does not have to deal with snail mail or worry about following up to collect.
When it comes to Paypal, the process for Zensurance is similar to the process for e-transfer.
“We get an email notification of a payment and it gets directly deposited into our account,” said Yusuf.
Toronto-based Zensurance lets business clients get quotes online, including after hours.
Not all payment methods are accepted by Zensurance.
‘We had one customer in our history who said, ‘I want to pay by cash.’ That’s where we said ‘No, we don’t want cash.’”
For one thing, cash makes it more difficult to keep a paper trail.
“Second if we keep [accepting cash], now we have to have a safe at the office where we lock the cash every night.”
As for paper cheques, Zensurance accepts that if the customer insists.
“But we steer everybody towards electronic payments where we can.”