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12:04 PM
Karin Halperin
Karin Halperin
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A study conducted by Mobius Management Systems shows consumers like the idea of electronic bill payment, but are unaware if their billers offer the service.

Many consumers like the idea of receiving and paying bills online but remain unaware that their billers offer such services, according to study conducted by Mobius Management Systems, a software products company in Rye, N.Y.

When Mobius polled 301 consumers online, it found that 61% said they would like to receive and pay bills electronically; 31%, however, didn't know whether any of their billers posted bills online, and 34% couldn't say if their billers offered electronic payment.

Specific industries fared worse than others. Within financial services, 82% of mortgage lender customers didn't know whether their mortgage holders offered electronic bill presentment, while 85% didn't know whether they offered online payment. Fifty-eight percent of credit card customers said they didn't know whether their card issuers provided electronic bill presentment; with slightly more (59%) saying they didn't know whether they could pay their balance online.

These findings might prove especially vexing to several major billers, because most do offer electronic bill presentment and payment, or EBPP, according to Mobius Systems.

"Just because billers and banks offer EBPP doesn't mean their customers are going to use it," said Mitchell Gross, president and CEO of Mobius Management Systems, which provides EBPP software. "Billers and banks have to commit to a more aggressive marketing approach to raise customer awareness of these services. We've heard over and over that the big stumbling blocks to widespread EBPP adoption are consumer concerns about privacy and safety, but our evidence says the problem is more basic than that--simple awareness."

Among consumers who had already adopted EBPP, Internet service providers came in ahead of credit card issuers, with 54% of survey participants saying they already paid their ISP bills online, while 47% of credit card customers said they paid electronically. Again, mortgage lender customers came in last, with only 14% making home payments over the Internet.

The survey brought one message home loud and clear across industry lines. "In adopting EBPP, consumers prefer to pay their bills from their bank's Web site," said Gross. "When we asked which payment method people used or would prefer to use, half of the respondents chose going to their bank's Web site. This format makes a lot of sense to people because their bank offers payment consolidation and is a trusted source."

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