More than two million US households have adopted online banking and bill payment during the last year, meaning the services are now used in over three quarters of homes with Internet access, according to a Fiserv-sponsored survey.
The poll of 3029 - conducted by Harris Interactive and The Marketing Workshop - indicates that 69.7 million households now use online banking services, primarily to access balance and account history and transfer money.
In addition, approximately 64.4 million households pay at least one bill online, either at a bank site or directly at a company portal.
Of those surveyed, 41% of current online banking users say they plan to pay more bills at their financial institution's site in the coming months. Around 35% of those who pay bills directly at company sites plan to do this more regularly.
When participants were asked why they pay bills online, speed emerged as the dominant reason, cited by 79%. Nearly three quarters say paying online is easier than writing a cheque and 71% say they liked saving money on stamps. In addition, 71% say paying bills online gave them more control over the timing of transactions.
According to the survey, 24% of consumers who pay bills online also receive at least one via the Internet each month, up from 22% last year. Over half (58%) of these say that environmental impact is either important or very important in their decision to view and pay bills online, up from 51% last year.
Nearly half of those questioned who use online bill pay are less likely to switch banks due to their experience, up from 43% last year. Around two thirds would recommend their bank to a friend or relative. Over a period of three months, 38% of online bill pay users recommended the service to others.
Geoff Knapp, VP, online banking and consumer insights, Fiserv, says: "Online banking and bill payment is a free service, and a convenient and environmentally friendly way to bank. Consumers are actively becoming fans of the user-friendly, secure services financial institutions are implementing."