More Plan Participants Turning to Internet Service Options

October 15, 2002 ( - More than half of account transactions by participants in plans serviced by American Express Retirement Services take place on the Internet, the service provider said in a news release.

An analysis of their service channel usage of 401(k) and defined contribution plans,   showed more than 60% of account transactions occurred over the Internet.   In comparison, 20% of participants are conducting transactions with a telephone representative and 15% through interactive voice response system.

The shift to the more cost-efficient Web-based format will benefit not only plan sponsors, by keeping plan costs down, but also participants who now have greater control and access to their accounts, American Express said.

In contrast, in1999 – the first full year that transactional Web services were made available to participants – fewer than 10% of participants used the Website for transactions with over 60% using telephone service representatives.

At the same time, more than 50% of inquiries now originate on the Web versus 25 % in 1999.  

The Web registrants also tend to be more active service users: while only one-third of all participants are registered on the Web site, these registrants drive two-thirds of all transactions.

The results were based on American Express Retirement Services participant base of over 1 million participants as of June 30, 2002.

– Eric Hazard