Banks continue to inch, crawl, and leap toward on-line banking.
Wells Fargo & Co. took a giant step forward when it added bill payment capabilities to its World Wide Web site, which had already opened for simpler transactions in May.
"Consumers have sent us E-mail saying they want to use the Internet to pay bills," said Gailyn Johnson, senior vice president of on-line financial services at the San Francisco-based bank.
For $5 a month, Wells Fargo customers can send money to anyone in the country by sending instructions through the Internet.
They can also set up the automatic payment of recurring, fixed-amount bills - like mortgage or cable television bills - or make one-time payments of varying amounts.
The bill payments can also be downloaded into personal financial software like Microsoft's Money or Intuit's Quicken.
"Making payments is just the latest development in an ongoing process of offering Internet banking services," Ms. Johnson said.
Also this month, Wells Fargo announced that customers could apply for money market mutual fund accounts through the Internet.
Elsewhere, Compass Bancshares of Birmingham, Ala., made strides in the on-line realm by enriching its PC-banking program.
Compass customers now can use personal computers to look up their credit card accounts and personal and equity lines of credit.
And BOK Financial Corp., the Tulsa-based parent company of Bank of Oklahoma, has taken one of its first steps in alternative delivery, introducing a home banking program for personal computers. At a base cost of $5.95 to $6.95 per month, the service supports the Money and Quicken financial management software packages.
"These services are the pinnacle of convenience in modern banking," said Norm Smith, Bank of Oklahoma's executive vice president of consumer banking.