Survey: Convenience Drives Online Bill Paying

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The percentage of consumers paying at least one of their bills online has skyrocketed from 17 percent in 2000 to 57 percent in 2003, according to a survey of 500 online Americans by research firm InsightExpress.


The most common method of paying bills online is via a credit card provider's Web site (58 percent), followed by the consumer's main banking institution's site (52 percent).


Benefits of paying online included:


· Ability to pay bills in less time, cited by 77 percent.


· Ability to make last-minute payments, 74 percent.


· Reduced need to visit the post office, 58 percent.


· Cost savings associated with postage, 56 percent.


· Ability to schedule payments in advance, 47 percent.


· Centralized payment history and record keeping, 41 percent.


Among those who also bank online, the most common activities include: accessing bank statements (72 percent), reviewing account transactions (57 percent) and transferring funds between accounts (53 percent).


Among those not paying bills online, 76 percent cited security concerns, a figure unchanged since 2000, as the reason for not doing so. Other barriers include an unwillingness to pay associated fees (62 percent), the requirement to install or configure software (42 percent) and a lack of recourse for any errors committed while paying bills online (42 percent).


The survey was conducted in mid-September.


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