For the first time, online banking and electronic bill payment features have surpassed the more traditional bank selection criteria of branch and ATM proximity to home for US consumers, according to a survey commissioned by CheckFree.
The survey of 2000+ US consumers conducted by The Marketing Workshop found that 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 chequeing" and "reasonable fees and service charges".
The research shows that currently 56% of US online households are paying at least one bill via the Internet, up from 52% in June 2004. The volume of bill payments made at consolidated Web sites, primarily banks, increased 24% from June 2004 to March 2005.
"Paying bills online is in the mainstream," says Matt Lewis, executive vice president and general manager of CheckFree's electronic commerce division. "For the first time online banking and bill pay has moved into the top three factors considered by consumers when choosing a bank."
Of those not yet using EBPP services, 18% said concern about the security of their personal information is the most significant barrier to using online bill pay, although 21% said that protection against fraud and late fees would be an attractive incentive in encouraging them to adopt the service.
The survey also found that customers that use consolidated bill payment services are also more likely to use other online banking channels. Over half (58%) of consolidated users also receive monthly electronic statements, compared to 46% of customers who do not use consolidated. The same amount also use online customer services, compared to 47% of customers who do not use EBPP services. Over a third (36%) of consolidated users have also signed up for e-mail alerts, compared to 17% of customers who do not use consolidated bill payment services.