US consumers like the convenience of online bill payment and prefer paying all bills at a single location, according to a study by MasterCard's Remote Payment and Presentment Service (RPPS).
The research found that consumers favour paying multiple bills through a single location, such as their bank's Website, instead of making individual payments directly at each biller's site.
Respondents cited time savings, better control over their finances and the ability to pay any service provider at one source as key benefits and the main advantage of online payment, rather than paper cheques, was ease and convenience of access via the Internet.
Additionally, participants also liked online payment histories, as well as the ability to save money by reducing the need to buy stamps, envelopes and cheques.
Cathleen Conforti, senior vice president, MasterCard RPPS, says the research shows that online bill payment is gaining traction among American consumers as they look to new technologies to streamline day-to-day finances.
The research included a focus group of consumer bases in Atlanta, Chicago, and New Jersey, each including current online bill payers and another group consisting of consumers who had never attempted the service previously but were aware of online bill payment services. The survey also was weighted by age and income and each group included a diverse array of males and females between the ages of 25 to 45.
One of the most significant findings among non-users was confusion about the definition of online bill payment. In many instances, non-users grouped other payment alternatives, such as direct-debit and direct bill payment at biller Web sites into their definition of online bill payment.
Non-users also showed concerns over the security and privacy of transactions, registration and set-up procedures and reliability and costs of online bill payment versus paper cheques, were also found to be barriers to adoption.
However, the interest level among non-users rose substantially following a step-by-step demonstration of the process. Conforti says consumer resistance is based largely on confusion about the process and service: "We are encouraged by how favorably consumers, especially non-users, responded to the simplicity of an 'electronic chequebook' once we took them through the general service initiation processes."
The study was conducted by MasterCard RPPS to help electronic bill payment and presentment (EBPP) service providers facilitate growing consumer interest in online bill payment services, as well as to assist providers with evaluating new ideas to overcome current barriers to mass adoption.