GreenPost helps consumers receive electronic bills in one easy platform
A local startup, GreenPost, is helping Singapore to go paperless with its aggregating solution to help consumers move away from paper bills towards receiving electronic bills in one easy platform.
To understand more about the business and paperless billing, Green Business Singapore recently met up with Harveen Narulla, Co-Founder, and Nigel Hembrow, Head (New Business & Sustainability), of GreenPost.
In The Beginning
Harveen was introduced by a mutual friend to GreenPost CEO and Co-Founder, Anand Singh, in 2008. Anand had earlier spent two and a half years on R&D in building systems that pull bills from companies and integrating them into GreenPost’s platform, but he found it costly to do so and decided to re-conceptualise the business.
Harveen was attracted by Anand’s vision of aggregating bills from different providers of all sizes and delivering them to consumers in one interface. He believed that the business is building a scalable system that solves real problems and makes business sense, and thus decided to join Anand in building the business together.
They managed to get SPRING Singapore and private investors to fund the development of GreenPost and built the system in 9 months, with bills of the top 4 billers in Singapore – Starhub, SingTel, M1 and SP Services, aggregated on bills on their system at launch in March 2010 (today the system aggregates bills of 17 billers from 4 countries and aims to aggregate 50 by year end).
GreenPost allows consumers to aggregate and see their electronic bills in one platform and access the bills whenever they want. The free platform allows users to add different billers, view bills, set reminders to pay bills, and even track spending or compare with average user spending. Currently, users still receive paper bills but GreenPost is working on paper opt-out mechanism with its billers.
The GreenPost platform is currently available for consumers in Singapore, Malaysia, Australia and the United States. Users can receive electronic bills from the following companies:
- Singapore – SingTel, StarHub, M1, SP Services, NUSS, Keppel Club, Singapore Swimming Club, and Sunpage
- Malaysia – Maxis, Digi, Tenaga Nasional (TNB), and Astro
- Australia – Optus, Telstra, 3Mobile, and Citilink
- US – AT&T
1. Choose your billers:
2. View your bills:
3. Track your spending:
Barriers To Paperless Billing
Harveen shares that the current paper to electronic conversion for billing is only 5%, although a conversion of 50% is achievable. The biggest barrier to going paperless is a lack of aggregation. Every biller wants their users to go to their website and get their bills paid. Moreover, billers and consumers are too used to paper bills. Paper billing is inefficient but is a solution that works and people have already organised their behaviour around it.
Harveen believes that enlightened leadership from billers and a collaborative approach is required to break the barriers. Billers should understand that paperless billing is a win-win solution for both parties, with GreenPost getting more users and the billers reducing their costs. This is also good for the environment with less usage of paper and more trees saved. Nigel shares that if 400,000 users switch to paperless, that would save 25 football fields of trees.
How Government Can Help
Harveen suggests that there is scope for targeted government policies that mandate a switch away from paper bills. For example, there could be a policy where any billing organisation that sends out above a threshold number of bills would be required to meet certain target of conversion to electronic within a time period. The policy could involve penalties for organisations that do not meet the target, or benefits such as credit and recognition, or access to procurement opportunities for organisations that meet the target.
GreenPost has been actively educating users and businesses through talks, and other activities such as funding campaigns, being a corporate partner of WWF, and spreading the word on this year’s International Year of Forests (IYOF) initiative by the UN. GreenPost is also pushing for the vision of Paperless 2012 and saving paper.
Harveen encourages consumers to use the free GreenPost platform to manage their bills and spending, and do good for the environment at the same time. When more consumers go paperless, more billers will then come on board.
Images: GreenPost logo from GreenPost; Screenshots of GreenPost – Billers setting, GreenPost – My Bills, and GreenPost – Monthly bill values