Most consumers don't use credit cards to pay rent, telephone or gas bills. But there are signs of change.

The bank card associations have been encouraging consumers to pay recurring household bills with plastic and billers to accept such payments. Visa U.S.A. said its volume of bill payments rose from $4.6 billion in 1995 to $7 billion in 1996. MasterCard reported an increase from $2 billion to $3.2 billion in that year.

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