Over half of US online consumers now use the Web to pay bills

Over half of US online consumers now use the Web to pay bills

The number of US online consumers using the Internet to pay bills has increased from 17% in 2000 to 57% in 2003, according to a survey by research firm InsightExpress.

A survey of 500 online customers found the most common method for paying bills is through a credit card provider's Web site (58%), followed by their primary banking institution's site (52%).

Respondents cited the ability to pay bills quickly as the main benefit of online bill payment (77%), as well as postage savings (56%), being able to schedule payments in advance (47%) and the ability to maintain a centralised payment history (41%).

However, despite the rising popularity of paying bills online, concern about security is still preventing wider take-up. Among the online consumers not using the Web to pay bills, more than three out of four (76%) cited security as the main reason, a number which remains unchanged since 2000.

Other barriers include associated fees (62%), the need to install or configure software (42%), and lack of recourse for any errors committed while paying bills online (42%).

Lee Smith, president and COO, InsightExpress, says: "Firms that offer and promote no-fee online bill payment in combination with limited liability will be most successful in accelerating the transition and preventing the loss of their customers to the competition."

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