October 28, 2005 Automatic payments have for the first time surpassed cheque writing as the dominant method for paying recurring bills, according to the results of a MasterCard International consumer research study. The 2005 MasterCard Recurring Payments Awareness, Behavior & Attitude study showed that more than two thirds of U.S. households (67 percent) now pay some recurring bills automatically compared to those writing cheques (64 percent). Nearly four in ten households link payments automatically to a credit card (38 percent) and three in ten households charge them automatically to a debit card (31 percent). In addition, among automatic bill paying households, the number of bills paid automatically rose in the last five years, from an average of 3.1 bills per household in 2000 to 4.4 bills today. During the same period, the number of cheques written declined by nearly 50 percent, from 4.4 to 2.4 among these households.
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