The Promising Future of Online Bill Payments

Posted on 19. Nov, 2005 by in News

CheckFree Corporation (Nasdaq: CKFR) announced this week the most recent results of a survey conducted twice annually by CheckFree Analytic Research Services with The Marketing Workshop, Inc. and Harris Interactive. The study revealed that 56% of U.S. online households are paying at least one bill online, up from 52% in June 2004. Currently, 87% of users who pay their bills from a single “consolidated” website, such as a bank, brokerage, credit union or Internet portal, say they receive the service for free. These figures seem to suggest that online bill payment is becoming more important to consumers.
Online Bill Pay
In fact, for the first time online banking and bill pay features surpassed the more traditional bank selection criteria of bank branch and ATM proximity to home. The availability of online banking and bill pay features ranked third among the top three factors in selecting a bank for personal accounts, following “availability of free checking” and “reasonable fees and service charges.”

“Today’s Internet user has several options when choosing to pay bills online. Consumers can pay individual bills at a ‘biller direct’ website, such as a utility, telecommunications or credit card company, or pay any bill from a single ‘consolidated’ website like their bank,” says Matt Lewis, executive vice president and general manager of CheckFree’s Electronic Commerce Division. “Paying bills online is in the mainstream, and for the first time online banking and bill pay has moved into the top three factors considered by consumers when choosing a bank.”

The study answered a few questions that might persuade you to use on online billing service. Personally, I have not switched to such a service – mainly because my bank charges me for such a service. However, most of my bills are automatically pulled from my bank account using ACH setup through each company. In fact, the only bill I have to think about paying is my credit card. Everything else is just done automatically for me. However, here are some of the questions the study answered:

Why do consumers choose an electronic billing and payment service?

  • Convenience — 27 %of consumers stated the most important
    benefit was saving the paper, stamps and hassle of paying bills by
    check, while 17 %stated that paying online was the easiest way
    to pay bills.
  • Speed — 13 %of consumers stated the most important benefit was
    that it is faster than paying by check.
  • Control — 9 %of consumers stated the most important benefit was
    the ability to ensure bills are paid on time as specified by the
    consumer.

Why do E-bill users like both receiving and paying bills online via e-bill?

  • E-bill makes sure the bill is paid on time (28 %)
  • Convenience, just click and pay (24 %)
  • Email reminders are available (18 %)
  • Ensures I never misplace a bill (6 %)
  • Makes budgeting easier (6 %)
  • Helps the environment by minimizing paper (6 %)

    Bills, Banking, Online Bill Pay

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