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Online Bill Paying Rises - Good for the Environment

A new survey by InsightExpress found that the number of U.S. online consumers using the Internet to pay bills has increased from 17 percent in 2000 to 57 percent in 2003. The survey of 500 online customers found that the most common method of payment is through a credit card provider's website (58 percent); followed by a primary financial institution's site (52 percent).

Respondents cited the ability to pay bills quickly as the main benefit of online bill payment (77 percent). Other advantages mentioned were savings in postage (56 percent), ability to schedule payments in advance (47 percent), and ability to maintain a centralized payment history (41 percent). Of respondents who were not paying bills online, 76 percent said they were concerned about security. Meanwhile, Wells Fargo & Company released a study that looked at what online bill payment can do for the environment. The study, which was conducted by Javelin Strategy & Research, concluded that viewing and paying bills online reduces the amount of wood, water, and energy that would be used to make paper. The study cited U.S. Postal Service data that revealed that each household sent or received about 20 bills, statements, and checks each month in 2002. The research study said each ton of paper saved cuts energy consumption, net greenhouse gas emissions, hazardous air pollutants, wastewater, solid waste, and wood consumption. It also pointed out that 50 different environmental contaminants are associated with paper and pulp manufacture and that a third of all waste sent to municipal landfills is paper, which when broken down creates methane.

Copyright © 2004 Bankers' Hotline. Originally appeared in Bankers' Hotline, Vol. 13, No. 12, 2/04

First published on 02/01/2004

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