Frequency of Online Billpay

I just ran across this the other day in USA Today and thought it was interesting… According to the Pew Research Center, the following is a breakdown of how adult Americans pay their monthly bills:

54% write checks
28% pay electronically/online
15% pay with cash
3% other

Assuming that this is based on a truly representative sample of Americans, I’m impressed that nearly 30% of the people polled are paying their bills online.

14 Responses to “Frequency of Online Billpay”

  1. Anonymous

    I personally pay all my business and personal bills online but what frustrates me is when my wife uses telebanking to pay the bills!

    The process I see her go through is painful!

    It goes like this:
    She calls the telebanking number
    Gets a list of all the amounts owing from each bill
    Writes each number down and then goes back through the phone system to pay the bills.

    She has seen me pay the bills online and yet still spends roughly 30 minutes paying everything when paying online takes me roughly a minute

  2. Anonymous

    I started using online bill payments in 1994 with Citibank. Their “online” banking consisted of dialing into their site. It has since gotten much better.
    I write so few checks that I still have boxes that have my 1998 address on them (I use the return labels that charities insist on sending me on top of the old address). My most active checkbook still has carbons from checks I HAD to write in 2005.
    I owed my neighbor money for a shared repair – she got a check mailed to her rather than cash or written check.
    Online bill pay has simplified my financial life.

  3. Anonymous

    I think people write checks because they still think it affords them a few days leeway on processing time. My friend says he writes checks because he feels it is safer than billpay. Now I think it is wiser to push rather than pull your payments–that is, do not give your credit card your bank account information for them to withdraw money to pay your bill (pulling). Instead, use your bank’s billpay (pushing) to pay the bill.

    I get cash back everytime I use billpay, so that is why I use it. Moreover, most creditors (at least the major ones) are now tied in to the system and the turn around is only 2 days. Much better than having to worry about the check being lost in the mail since it is paid electronically.

    plus mailing a check cost you a stamp (one of my banks gives me free pre-paid envelopes). Going to the company costs you gas. writing checks is just more costly in the end.

  4. Anonymous

    Well, theres no way that 30% are using their banks online bill pay. If this stat is at all accurate, it must be including people who pay their bills online using a credit/debit card or those who give companies their routing and account numbers. Banks look at BoA enviously since they have the highest percentage of their customers using bill pay at 20%. Most banks have about 5%.

    And for what its worth, I write one check a month and thats for rent. I’m thinking about using my banks online bill pay for that even now. Though that would be the only thing I use bill pay for.

  5. Anonymous

    Every monthly bill except the mortgage (my mortgage lender doesn’t offer auto-debit except from their own accounts…grr!) gets paid by the vendor’s automatic e-bill system. The electronic payment option at my primary bank isn’t very useful to me (not only would they put the wrong name on the checks, but they don’t know what amount needs to be paid every month), but electronic debit either from the checking account or the attached debit card works just fine.

    So every month, I write one check. And drive to the mortgage bank to pay them.

    Once I refinance the mortgage with a more reasonable lender, I’ll probably never write a paper check again.

  6. Anonymous

    I expect my actual check use to be under 20 checks this year. I posted about check use declining, but admit they’ll never go away unless there’s a more portable alternative (not cash of course).

    Here’s my check history:
    2003: 38 (I think I lost a bunch of transactions when I switched from Money to Quicken)
    2004: 95
    2005: 96
    2006: 41
    2007: 3 so far

    My Catholic church has switched to Faith Direct for EFT donations. It costs us more since we donate whether we’re there or a church somewhere else, but we don’t need to run back into the house for the checkbook, and we get a receipt for all of our donations for taxes.

  7. Anonymous

    Dus10 –

    I think that they do still mail some. What I do to avoid late charges is to tell the bank that the due date is 1 week earlier than it actually is. I have been using bill pay for over 3 years now without an incident. Wait a minute…there was one mistake but it was mine. I forgot to change the account number for the water bill when I moved. 1 call to the water company though and it was fixed.

  8. Anonymous

    Maybe I did online bill pay prematurely, but when I did, the bank mailed all of them for me, and none of them were done electronically. I ended up being three to five days late on nearly all of my bills because they mailed them the day that they were due. So, I haven’t done online bill pay for some time.

  9. Anonymous

    #4 – it’s not the postage I think about, but the several hundred dollars in late fees I’m sure I’ve saved since switching to online payments.

    I’d love to see a demographic breakdown – I don’t know a single person under 30 who doesn’t use the online option.

  10. Anonymous

    The only time I write out checks is to pay the co-pay at the doctor’ office. We used to pay cash but one time we got into a problem with proof of payment because we misplaced the receipt.

    I pay a lot of bills with the Amex card and then pay Amex with the free bill pay through my credit union. All of my other bills (the ones that won’t accept cc as payment) are paid through the bill pay. Even my accountant! I figure that I have saved over $40 in postage alone by paying online.

  11. Anonymous

    Unless your bank charges a fee for the pay online, I don’t see why people don’t use the pay online through their bank. I love the feature of schedule payment. That way I never have late payment.

  12. Anonymous

    I figure 30% is about right from what I’ve seen. I don’t know how many other churches do this, but ours lets you tithe online or by EFT automatically. We use it and something like 8% of the congregation does. And this is at a not-exactly young church.

  13. Anonymous

    I pay as much with a credit card and online as I can. That being said, I don’t use the online bill pay through my bank account. Anything that I can’t call to pay or pay online w/a credit card I still use a check.

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