More Americans are now paying bills at bank Web sites than at biller-direct portals, with the 'big four' of Bank of America, Citi, JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo taking the lion's share of business, according to Javelin Strategy & Research.
Javelin, which in April surveyed 2779 online households, says seven in ten now pay bills via the Internet monthly, up from 64% in 2008. For the first time, slightly more of these consumers are paying at bank sites rather than at biller-direct ones.
Javelin says the recession has led many Americans to watch their spending more closely, fuelling a desire for efficient but integrated online banking, bill pay, personal finance management tools and expedited payments.
The nation's big four - Bank of America, Citi, JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo - have taken advantage of this, with nearly six out of 10 of their customers paying a bill online through their sites in the previous 30 days.
In contrast, many smaller regional, community banks and credit unions have been slow to upgrade their capabilities, which could see them miss the boat, warns Javelin.
Mark Schwanhausser, research analyst, Javelin, says: "The playing field is dominated by Bank of America, Citi, JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo, which have set the bar high for what consumers can expect from a full-service online-banking operation,."
Overall Web banking is now used by eight out of 10 online US households, with 60% visiting their bank site weekly, a 12% increase from 2008. By 2014, Javelin predicts 83 million households will bank online.
A recent study from Forrester predicts that the number of US households paying bills online will grow from 48 million this year to 63 million by 2014, driven by consolidator sites like Yodlee. Meanwhile a study from fintech vendor Fiserv found that bank customers who pay bills online are over 15% more profitable and 76% more loyal than those who don't.