The Family That E-Checks Together

Hate licking envelopes? So do I. I used to hate licking stamps, but since they became self-stick I no longer have that excuse. Still, I find the whole process of paying bills — writing the check, filling in the amount on the “return with payment” stub, tearing it off and sliding it into the envelope along with the check, making sure that the return address faces the payment window — incredibly cumbersome and tiring. And that leaves me too exhausted to interact with my wife and two kids. Which is why I’ve jumped at the chance to pay bills online using “e-checks” whenever possible.

Apparently, though, I’m an anomaly. According to the Bill Paying Preferences survey, commissioned by Dallas-based payment processor Paymentech, households of six to eight people are most likely to prefer paying bills online using electronic checking. And only half of 18-34-year-olds pay bills by mailing in a paper check. I don’t fit in either of those groups.

Interestingly, consumers overwhelmingly prefer to set up electronic payments directly with the billing company. Among the other results uncovered:

  • Households with incomes of more than $75,000 are twice as likely to pay bills online.
  • Hispanics are more likely to use e-checking than Caucasians [sic] and African-Americans.
  • 45% of Americans who e-checked four to 10 times in the last year did so to avoid late charges.

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