Texans Embracing Electronic Payments According to SWACHA Survey

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82 Percent of Respondents Claim to Pay at Least Some of Their Bills Electronically

According to a recently conducted survey by SWACHA - The Electronic Payments Resource, a significant number of Texans have stopped writing checks and now pay their bills electronically. SWACHA's survey of 400 Texans identified that 82 percent pay a least some of their bills electronically. The survey also revealed that nearly 58 percent of those who pay bills electronically have been doing so for more than 3 years.

Benefits of Electronic Payments
An electronic payment is any type of payment that does not involve cash or check. Electronic payments can be made through a bank's online bill paying platform, or directly through the biller's Web site. Electronic payments can also be made using credit and debit cards.

Thirty-Seven percent of those surveyed identified not having to write and mail checks as the biggest benefit of using electronic payments. Additionally, not missing payment deadlines was identified by 14 percent of survey respondents as the biggest benefit.

"The number of checks written today is definitely declining as more people move to electronic payments," said SWACHA President and CEO, Dennis Simmons, AAP. "Electronic payments are not only more efficient overall, but they have simplified bill paying for both consumers and billing companies. Additionally, paying bills electronically cuts down on the amount of paper used from billers to banks and consumers, therefore helping our industry to be more 'green.'"

Who is Paying What Electronically?
Survey respondents with higher education levels indicated they have been using electronic payments for a longer period of time. Respondents in the age group of 35 to 44 are the most likely to have used electronic payments for more than 3 years.

According to the survey, 39 percent of respondents indicated they go directly to the biller's web site to make electronic payments, while those that reported using their bank's online bill pay service was a close second at 34 percent. Another 21 percent of those surveyed identified direct payment as their preferred electronic payment method. Direct payment is an option that allows billing companies to take payments directly from a consumer's checking or savings account.

Electricity, phone, Internet, cable and department store bills are most likely to be paid at the biller's Web site, while direct payments are used more often for car and insurance payments than for other types of bills. However, mortgage and/or rent payments along with utilities such as water and gas are still largely paid by check.

"Paying by check for mortgage or rent, which is typically a household's highest expense, is most likely done in order to control cash flow," said Simmons. "Interestingly, those we surveyed overwhelmingly paid their water bills by check. This may be because these utilities have lagged others in offering electronic payments."

About the Survey
SWACHA's online survey of 400 Texans statewide was conducted in April 2009 by Infosurv with a confidence interval of 95 percent and a corresponding margin of error of +/- 4.9 percent. Only those respondents who identified themselves as the person responsible for paying household bills were permitted to complete the survey.

SWACHA-The Electronic Payments Resource® is a not-for-profit Regional Payments Association of approximately 1,100 members across the Southwest. SWACHA is the resource of choice for financial institutions and corporations in the areas of education, training, payments system risks and knowledge about electronic payments.

SWACHA membership provides advantages such as superior quality training and unique industry resource materials, access to the toll-free Payments AnswerlineTM, Risk Management programs, and representation at the national level in the development of ACH policies and rules. For more information, visit http://www.swacha.org.

Editor's Note: This is the second is a series of releases based on SWACHA's 2009 Consumer Insights Survey.

For accompanying graphs please go to http://granadopr.com/swachareleases/swachasurvey2.

CONTACT: Erin Jamison
Granado Communications Group
(214) 504-2488

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Granado Communications Group
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