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For Bill Payers, the Check Is No Longer In the Mail

Mobile users are becoming increasingly comfortable making purchases on their smartphones or tablets . / Credit: Mobile payment image via Shutterstock

Consumers are showing a growing preference for paying their bills on the go. Nearly half of all bills today are paid via a website belonging to a biller, bank or credit union, according to a new survey. And the check's no longer in the mail; only a fifth of bills are paid the old-fashioned way with a check, envelope and postage stamp.

This trend shows no signs of reversing, with 39 percent of consumers in the United States saying they will pay more bills online this year, according to a survey of 3,000 consumers sponsored by Western Union, a payment services company. In addition, 26 percent said they will send fewer checks in the mail to pay their bills.

More than one out of 10 bills (20 percent) will be paid by mobile phone.

Consumers also plan to hold on to their money longer, the survey found. Mobile adoption for urgent, same-day payments is on the rise; 14 percent of consumers reported that they will make an urgent payment via their mobile devices in the next six months. Additionally, 15 percent of consumers said they will wait longer to pay their bills.

The survey also found that only 8.7 percent of bills are paid in-person at a walk-in location, while 19.6 percent of bills are paid via an automatic deduction or recurring payment.

"Consumers are increasingly looking for new ways to manage their bills, which points to the need for continued innovation by service providers across the payments industry," said David Shapiro, senior vice president for payments, Western Union.

"Less than one-third of payments occur via non-electronic channels, and consumers continue to use a mix of payment methods that provide enhanced choice, flexibility, control and convenience around their lifestyles and cash flow.”"

Reach BusinessNewsDaily senior writer Ned Smith at nsmith@techmedianetwork.com. Follow him on Twitter @nedbsmith.

Ned Smith

Ned was senior writer at Sweeney Vesty, an international consulting firm, and was Vice President of communications for iQuest Analytics. Before that, he has been a web editor and managed the Internet and intranet sites for Citizens Communications. He began his journalism career as a police reporter with the Roanoke (Va.) Times, and was managing editor of American Way magazine and senior editor of Us. He was a Captain in the U.S. Air Force and has a masters in journalism from the University of Arizona.

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