Survey Finds Even Online Users Not Sure About Bill Pay

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A new survey of non-users of bill pay services found most saying they are unfamiliar with the features and benefits of bill pay, even though nearly all are online banking users.

The new Callahan & Associates report is based on 26,724 responses to an online survey that was designed to help credit unions to evaluate their practices and provide more targeted bill pay information to stimulate adoption and better use of their programs.

Half of the 15,506 non-users surveyed in 17 of the credit unions in Callahan's Survey Consortium, a shared cost survey group, said they are unfamiliar with the features and benefits of the bill pay service even though nearly all are online banking users. Only 16% of non-users reported being very familiar or somewhat familiar with bill pay.

"The fact that so many online members appear to lack even general awareness of their credit union's bill pay programs reveals the need to boost and target educational marketing to reach this important segment of credit union membership," said Callahan E- Commerce Manager Scott Patterson.

The survey also showed that among current credit union bill pay users, there are still significant numbers of bills being paid outside the bill pay service. Many of the 11,201 current bill pay users in the survey said they would use their bill pay program more if their credit union addressed some of the main reasons that other bill payment methods (like mailing checks and automatic debit and credit card payments) remain popular. Some of the top reported reasons for preferring such other bill pay methods included: Lower cost or lack of any cost; ease of sign up and/or making payments; speedier payment credits; and discounts or requirements for automatic withdrawals by some billers

The survey found that usage of other such methods for paying bills decreases over time as bill pay users experience with electronic bill pay grows. Only automatic credit card payments appeared to stay the same perhaps due to vendor requirements, the report stated.

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