April 18, 2007 -- For the first time, more consumers are paying household bills online than sending checks by mail, a recent survey found.

A survey of more than 2,000 homes nationwide in January found that 39 percent of all bills were paid online, up 4 percent from a similar survey conducted two years ago, according to CheckFree, an Atlanta-based e-commerce services firm.

By contrast, just 34 percent were paid by checks, down 4 percent from the previous survey.

Respondents cited convenience, security, and environmental benefits for adopting online billing, the survey found.

"I expect further growth in this area due to Generation Y's greater reliance on technology in their everyday lives as they move into early adulthood," Gwenn Bezard,  research director at Aite Group, a financial services research firm, said in a statement.

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Correction: An earlier version of this story misidentified Gwenn Bezard as the director of the survey and mistated the survey results.