Popularity of Online Billing Grows

July 14, 2003 - Posted at: 10:15 p.m. CDT

JONESBORO, Ark. -- It's a modern day convenience made possible by advances in computer technology. Those who pay bills on-line say it saves time, money, and it's safe.

Within the last year, SBC in Jonesboro began offering its customers with the option of going on-line to pay bills.

"It's real convenient for me, I have a bank draft," said SBC employee and customer Rhonda Cline. "I'll get an e-mail message advising me on when the bill was issued and then I can view it."

Rhonda Cline says e-billing is a secure way for customers to view their bill, but it's also beneficial for the provider.

"It's convenient for us as well as our customers, less paperwork, less mail in their mail boxes," Cline stated.

Now, other utility services are following SBC's lead. Jonesboro's City Water and Light says its looking into computer system upgrades that will allow for e-billing possibilities.

"We're trying to figure out when the value to the customers is equal to or greater than the cost, and with this new upgrade that we're going to put on by the end of the year, the cost to provide that should be less," said City Water and Light Manager Ron Bowen. "I think that would move us more closer to providing the service."

Currently, providers like SBC allow customers to discontinue the service and pay the traditional way if they prefer.