Detailed Bill Info Would Lure E-Payers to Bank Sites: Poll
Wade, Will, American Banker
A majority of consumers who pay their bills online use the billers' Web sites -- not a bank's -- but recent research indicates many would prefer to use a bank site if they could get detailed invoice information there.
"It's very interesting how consumers are paying bills," said Cathleen Conforti, a senior vice president at MasterCard International's Remote Payment & Presentment Service of Purchase, N.Y. In a survey of almost 1,000 people by conducted by Harris Interactive Inc. in February and March, 64% said they pay bills at biller sites, compared with 41% who use their bank sites.
MasterCard sponsored the Harris survey, and its findings support the business case of MasterCard's Remote Payment & Presentment Service, which handles online bill payments for companies that want to offer such services at a consolidated Web site.
Of the respondents who said they use a bank site for bill payment, 73% cited the convenience of a single site as the reason. Ms. Conforti said that figure indicates strong support for the idea of paying multiple bills at a single site, but that many consumers continue to visit various biller sites in search of features, including detailed content, they cannot receive from their banks.
This type of content will not be widely available at U.S. bank sites until 2006, she predicted.
"There are types of bills that people pay at the biller sites, because they want to see the details associated with that bill," Ms. Conforti said. Consumers hope to see paydown information, interest rates, and specific charges on bills for things like telecommunications services, credit cards, and student loans.
Though some banking companies, including Bank of America Corp., Wells Fargo & Co., and NetBank Inc., offer electronic bill presentment services, these e-bills often include only basic details, such as the amount owed and the due date, she said. "Is the optimal solution available now? Not in my opinion, because the consumer can't view" detailed information and pay their bills at a bank site. …