BROOKFIELD, Wis. (8/28/08)--With more Americans paying their bills online rather than writing checks, credit unions will need to offer even more online banking services to members. An estimated 63.1 million households--75% of all U.S. households--are paying bills online, according to a survey by CheckFree, part of Fiserv, Inc., a provider of information technology services to the financial industry (BusinessWire
Aug. 27). Among survey respondents who use the Internet, check payments dropped to their lowest level in six years--accounting for 31% of the total volume of household bill payments, compared with 34% in 2007. The survey also indicates that consumers have more confidence in online security because Americans are becoming more experienced in using Internet services, and therefore security concerns are not a much of a barrier to online bill payment adoption as they were in the past, said CheckFree. Other survey findings include:
* Households using the Internet pay about 11 bills per month. Consumers use an average of three different ways to pay bills with online, check, automatic debit and in-person at the heading the list of bill-payment methods. Online bill payments at bank and biller websites account for 42% of total monthly payments, compared with 31% of bills paid by check. * The environment was cited by 51% of survey respondents as a reason for choosing to view and pay bills online. Of these, 72% identified the lack of paper and clutter as main benefits, followed by tree conservation (19%) and reduction in gas consumption (16%). * Saving time and obtaining control over finances were major online bill-payment benefits cited by 44% of respondents. Those surveyed also cited other main reasons for paying bills online, including eliminating the hassle of writing checks; enabling them to pay all bills in one step; and saving on the cost of stamps.