Fees could alienate online bill pay users

February 23, 2011

Chicago (February 23, 2011) – Online banking continues to grow in popularity, and according to Mintel, 79% of consumers visit their banks’ online website on a daily or weekly basis. But it seems that loyalty to online banking would vanish if the service wasn’t complimentary, as just less than 80% of consumers would stop using their banks online bill pay services if their financial institutions charged a monthly fee.

When asked how much they would be willing to pay, just 7% of consumers said that they would continue using online bill pay if they were charged $5. The number willing to pay $10 for online bill pay services is a mere 5%, while only 2% said they would pay $25 or more per month. The final 7% said they didn’t know at what price they would stop using online bill pay services.

“Most consumers would be loathe to pay for an online bill pay service, simply because there are other services that are offered free of charge,”says Susan Wolfe, VP of financial services at Mintel Comperemedia. “So if banks start charging for online bill pay, they run the risk that customers will use another payment mechanism or go to one of the free third party services. “

Despite the popularity of online banking, writing checks is still a popular way to pay – 62% of consumers who are responsible for paying their household’s recurring bills report that they’ve paid a bill with a check. Forty-five percent have paid their bills through the biller’s website and 42% have paid a bill with a credit card in the past six months. Online bill payment through a bank comes in fourth, at 40%.

“The wide range of payment mechanisms means customers have choices,” adds Susan Wolfe. “Getting customers to sign up for online banking is the easy part – getting them to use the full online offering is much more challenging. “

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