Jun 24, 2021
DivDat Kiosk Network Users Join the Conversation
You’ve heard a great deal from me lately about the unbanked and underbanked: who they are, how they incur hidden costs, why my company has come to serve them, and how that has been working out. And I’m committed to continuing to talk about the vital importance of including these populations in the frictionless bill-payment world the rest of us enjoy. But this month, I want to bring our unbanked and underbanked DivDat Kiosk Network users into the conversation.
Taken from focus group and at-the-kiosk interviews — and even a thank-you note to the City of Detroit — the statements below come directly from users. While comments touch on a wide range of issues, they most frequently relate to the alleviation of the hidden costs of being unbanked (or underbanked) identified in my previous blog, which relate primarily to time, transportation, fees, and dignity.
Enough from me. Let’s hear from our users.
Saving Time and Reducing Transportation Costs
“Convenient” is the word used most often — and most consistently — by DivDat Kiosk Network users to describe their experience. Drilling down, the word seems to be shorthand for a variety of more specific benefits.
- “Now I’m not having to drive 40 minutes, spending gas, and more time. It’s awesome.” (Rick)
- “… for 50 years I always came downtown… to pay my property taxes.” (Anonymous)
- “You know, I don’t want to stand in line. I don’t have that kind of time. Who wants to stand in line, 45 minutes, to pay a bill? Nobody.” (Regina)
- “I’m… at work, so I don’t have to worry about leaving out on my lunch break to try and go to pay a bill. I’m able to take care of all my bills that I need — my lights, my gas, my water, my taxes…” (Irine)
- “It’s quick and easy. Avoid the lines. No lines. You’re in and out. It’s self-explanatory. All you have to do is do what it says.” (Joseph)
- “The machine is pretty convenient for me. It’s right in my line of path of running my errands so I don’t have to make an extra errand to pay a bill. I can just stop here [at the kiosk] and sometimes make one stop [and] pay for one or two things…” (Marion)
- “The other places I go, lines… but I come here, boom, in and out. Boom.” (Cheryl)
- “… it [is] open 24 [hours], seven days a week…” (Reko)
- “It’s available at all times.” (Steve)
- “I love it. The fact that I can come in, pay cash, get the receipt then, and there’s never a line…” (Vincent)
The unbanked and underbanked who have limited or no ability to pay bills in person have long been forced to use bill-paying services, which almost universally charge fees. Users appreciate that our kiosks are fee-free:
- “I don’t like paying… fees. I love [using the kiosk] [be]cause it’s free…” (Cheryl)
- “It’s very convenient because you don’t [have to] go and make money orders and all that. You can just pay over the machine…” And “… that’s good, [be]cause you have to usually pay with extra money for a money order…” (Harry)
- “I like free. Free is my favorite word.” (Marion)
- “Why do I have to pay to pay my bills? That’s extra money…” (Kevin)
- “It was always a fee. The fee-free… that’s great.” (Charlie)
There are indignities that come from being outside the traditional banking system or unable to sit down at a computer at home to pay your bills. Users seem to coalesce around the phrase “peace of mind,” but they express this sentiment in different ways:
- “… they’re giving you the stink face… but all you’re trying to do is pay your bill…” (Rick)
- “I have peace of mind when I pay the bill because I know it’s done, it’s right there, it’s instant, and that works perfectly for me.” (Bobbie)
- “… nobody handling your business, it’s going straight to the computer, it’s not a person…” (Joseph)
- “… great relief when you can come here [to the kiosk] and pay your bill.” (Reko)
- “… get to go to the kiosk machine… don’t have to deal with the teller.” (Johnny)
- “I don’t have any stress driving up or… doing any of it. I don’t have any stress doing it. I love the kiosk machine. They should make them for everything.” (Regina)
The Bottom Line
We are working hard at Leveling the Paying Field™ for the unbanked and underbanked, trying to change their bill payment landscape. If the words of our users and our numbers — a customer satisfaction rate of 98% and a customer return rate of 96% — are any indication, we’re on our way.
Are you a user who wants to know more? A biller who’s interested in joining the DivDat Kiosk Network? Drop a note in the comments or reach out to me directly. We hope you’ll join us in building a more inclusive bill paying environment that ultimately serves us all.
Jason Bierkle is President and CEO of DivDat Kiosk Network and currently on a mission to promote the inclusion of the unbanked and underbanked in today’s online banking and bill paying services environment through free, convenient, self-serve payment kiosks.