Around 20% of American internet users are making good use of online banking services, of which 12% have paid bills using their bank's service during the past three months, according to a nationwide survey conducted by comScore Networks.
The number of internet users paying bills through online banking services represents an increase of 42% since the first quarter of 2002.
The survey found that online bill payment users were more than twice as likely to remain active online banking customers than their non-bill payment counterparts.
Online banking customers who did not use their bank's bill payment services showed an online attrition rate of 34%, compared to only 16% for those who were active bill payment users.
Users of online bill payment services were also shown to be the higher-value account holders, keeping an average account balance of around US$4,800 - double the US$2,400 balance carried by the average online banking customer.
Not surprisingly, the survey also found that younger and higher-income consumers are more likely to use online bill payment services.
Among the eleven major banks studied, Bank of America was the leader in the adoption rate of online bill payment, with more than 25% of its online customers making an online bill payment during the fourth quarter of 2002.
Bank of America was also found to be the leader in quantity of active online customers, followed by Wells Fargo and Citibank. Fleet bank also demonstrated success in converting a relatively high proportion of online customers to using its online bill payment service.
"Bringing customers online and engaging them with online bill-pay creates true economic value for the banks, many of which are aggressively promoting such services," explained Chris Britt, vice president for comScore Financial Services Solutions.