US Electronic Payments Association Nacha is forecasting that online bill payments may top the $200 billion mark for the first time this year, after recording a sharp increase in payments over the network in the first quarter.
Nacha estimates that more than $48 billion in online bill payments were made over the Automated Clearing House (ACH) Network in Q1 2003, half of the amount of $96 billion for all of 2002.
At the current growth rate, the amount would exceed $200 billion for all of 2003. In contrast, Nacha says a recent survey estimated online sales figures of $76 billion for 2002 and $96 billion for 2003.
Elliott McEntee, president and CEO, Nacha, says online bill payment is now a mainstream consumer activity: "Tens of millions of consumers now pay bills online, and the potential for continuing growth is substantial."
According to Gartner, the most popular use of online bill payment is for the viewing and paying of credit card bills.