Consumers embrace online banking but not for bills

Mintel Comperemedia, a service that provides direct marketing competitive intelligence, found 45% of US adults with access to the internet have bypassed their banks’ online bill payment service and go directly to the biller’s website instead. Twenty-two percent of online banking customers have never paid a bill online at all.

The same survey found 70% of adults who use the internet use online banking. Another 7% have signed up for the service, but have never used it. Consumers aged 25-44 are slightly more likely than their counterparts to use online banking, with 79% reporting usage. Banks are pushing these services, as approximately 40% of all checking direct mail offers include a mention of online banking.

“Despite the high penetration, banks are still eager to increase the usage of online banking,” said Susan Wolfe, vice president of financial services at Mintel Comperemedia. “It’s no secret online banking creates deeper relationships between banks and customers, so banks are keen to pull in more users.”

Ninety-three percent of respondents use online banking to check balances, 38% use it to receive account alerts and 65% use it to transfer money. Thirty percent log on to pay their mortgages or credit cards issued by their banks. Consumers, on average, receive 3.5 paperless statements a month from other sources, and Mintel Comperemedia suggests banks provide eBills on their sites.

“Offering eBills is a way for banks to ensure customers continually return to their website and rely on the banks’ services, rather than turning to other third party sources,” said Wolfe. “Consumers opt to pay bills on the biller’s website because their statement is readily available. If banks provided the same thing, it could potentially increase consumer usage of online bill pay services.”