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NEEDHAM, Mass. – TowerGroup Research has released the results of its 2002 Market Survey of Billing and Bill Payment Practices, and the results confirm what e-commerce experts have been saying for awhile: While consumers’ use of electronic bill presentment and payment is increasing, paper checks remain a hard habit for most Americans to break. The research data show that there have been “significant jumps” in both online bill viewing and paying, “but the attitudinal and behavioral barriers that have kept EBPP growth to a snail’s pace are still very much at play.” Consumers are online-nearly 75% of consumer households use a personal computer at home or at work, and 62% of households have Internet access for personal use-but are their attitudes about Internet security changing? Are they satisfied with online billing and payment services? These are some of the questions the research sought to answer. TowerGroup’s research is based on a survey of nearly 4,000 households, weighted by age and income to be representative of the total U.S. Among the highlights of the findings: *More consumers are looking at their bills online. In 2002, 20% of consumers have viewed electronic bills or billing statements online, compared to only 1% in 1998; *The use of online bill payment is increasing – 13% of all U.S. consumers used online bill payment in 2002, compared to only 2% of households in 1998. In total, households that use online bill payment are paying an average of 3.7 bills per month on the Internet; *41% of online banking users still prefer to write checks and use the U.S. mail system for bill payment purposes. *Only 6% of consumers prefer using their online banking service for reviewing all their various bills; 22% say they want to review bills at each biller’s own Web site; 25% remain uncertain which location they prefer. “The relatively low interest in online financial activity correlates with the slow adoption rates seen in EBPP today and is a barrier that must be overcome to generate broader use of the service,” TowerGroup wrote in its report.

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