It’s not just for select members anymore. Once thought to be a service
targeted only at affluent or technology savvy consumers, electronic bill payment
is quickly becoming a mainstream financial solution for individuals of varying
demographics and technological orientation.
According to Credit Union National Association (CUNA), the number of Internet
users in the United States has exceeded 150 million, seven times the number
of users recorded in 1996. And with more online users comes an increased demand
for online services, including bill pay. According to a report by TowerGroup,
about a third of all households bank online, and one in six is paying bills
With statistics pointing toward mainstream use, credit unions continue to look
for creative ways to increase bill pay use with members. A study by The Ohio
State University found that marketing, not demographics, is the key to increased
adoption of Web-based banking technologies.
The study examined the role that factors such as age, income and education
play in the adoption of online banking and found that people who believed the
service was useful, reliable, secure and easy-to-use were more likely to try
it, regardless of age or background. Researchers found that people who believe
in the security of electronic banking are more willing to try it.
And according to a Callahan & Associates survey of 26,724 members, half
of credit union members who don’t currently use online bill payment said
they were unfamiliar with the features and benefits of using this type of service.
Mutual Security Credit Union in Wilton, Conn. offers electronic bill payment
to its members, and has developed multiple marketing activities to increase
usage and help its members understand electronic bill pay to take full advantage
of the service.
“Electronic bill pay offers a number of benefits to our members, including
convenience,” said Larry Holderman, president and CEO of Mutual Security.
“Electronic bill pay is a key feature that credit unions should offer
to members in order to stay competitive with other financial institutions.”
Mutual Security launched its bill pay service, named WebLine MemberPay, which
has a complete marketing campaign including direct mail, statement inserts,
newsletter articles, brochures, Web site marketing, and user guides to help
educate their members about the convenience and security of using bill pay.
In addition, the credit union implemented a cross-selling program for its staff
to encourage bill pay adoption.
The credit union obtained MemberPay® through its corporate credit union,
Constitution Corporate Credit Union, and Corporate Network eCom, LLC. With this
program, Mutual Security maintains control over their member data, enabling
them to proactively monitor changes in member statistics and evaluate the effectiveness
of marketing campaigns. This bill pay system gives the credit union access to
proven marketing techniques, standard templates and assistance in planning marketing
To meet the growing needs of their members, credit unions are extending their
Internet banking options, and communicating how those options benefit their
members. The results of these efforts are clear in the rising adoption of online
A survey polling 3,000 U.S. adult Internet users showed that the median income
of online bankers fell 18 percent from $62,500 in 2000 to $51,500 in 2002. This
is a good indication that online banking is going mainstream.
Thomas Miller, senior consultant for The Dieringer Research Group, the firm
conducting the study stated, “Personal banking is the most popular financial
activity, and bill payment is the fastest growing sector within online banking.”
With the changing profile of electronic bill pay users and increasing adoption,
it becomes more important for credit unions to offer and communicate the benefits
of electronic bill pay. As members become more and more familiar with the service,
they will continue to seek it from their financial institution.
MemberPay is part of the MemberStreet®
line of electronic products. If you are interested in learning more about the
MemberStreet solution for credit unions, please contact Michelle Young (888)
872-0440, ext. 6088.