A View to a Bill
The number of bills viewed online will experience a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 20 percent over the next five years, increasing from 2.6 billion in 2005 to 6.3 billion in 2010, according to a Jupiter Research report. These bills, according to "U.S. Online Bill Viewing and Payment Forecast, 2005 to 2010," will account for 49 percent of all U.S. bills by the end of 2010. The expanding online community is helping fuel this expected surge, but an increase in the amount of bills that are viewed online by households accounts for a more significant portion of the uptake.
"Right now, on average, a household views 4.5 bills online and...gets about 10 to 12 bills a month," says Asaf Buchner, associate analyst at Jupiter Research and lead analyst of the report. "We're expecting households that are already viewing bills online to view more. Part of it is more merchants [like utility companies], offering the service or promoting it more aggressively." Delivering features like the ability to view bills from previous months "attracts consumers to go to the Web site...which can eventually migrate to also paying the bills," Buchner says.
There is no one killer app that will convince consumers to pay more of their bills through an aggregator site, according to the report. Stats from a Jupiter Research/Ipsos-Insight consumer survey of 3,875 online consumers reveal that 39 percent of respondents would consider consolidating most bill payments at bill-aggregator sites if the service was free. That was followed by guarantee against fraud (25 percent), two-day processing (14 percent), email/phone alerts (13 percent), points/rewards for each bill paid (13 percent), and the capacity to view most bills (12 percent).
The bill consolidator model, which allows consumers to pay bills from various sources on one site like that of a bank, will continue to gain traction during the five-year span, increasing from 23 percent in 2005 to 38 percent in 2010, according to the report. Customers still will view most bills at direct biller sites, although the percentage will decrease from 77 percent in 2005 to 62 percent in 2010, according to the report. "All major banks offer [online bill pay], but consumer awareness is not very high," Buchner says.
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