For the first time, households with Internet access are paying more bills online than through traditional mail, a new study reported Thursday.

In a survey of more than 2,000 households, Harris Interactive and the Marketing Workshop reported that e-bill payments grew to 39 percent of total transactions while postal mail dipped to 34 percent. The figures represent a 4 percent increase and decrease, respectively, in each category since the most recent survey done in December 2005.

The Consumer Bill Payment survey, which was the seventh conducted since 2002, was sponsored by Atlanta-based CheckFree.

In that first survey, 61 percent of bills were paid through paper checks and 13 percent of bills were paid online.

The survey included 2,018 online respondents who are statistically representative of the 82.5 million U.S. households that utilize the Internet, according to Harris Interactive and Marketing Workshop.

According to the survey, more online households in the West were likely to pay bills online followed by the South.

However, the South had more “E-Savvy Planners:” (15 percent vs. 11 percent for the West.) E-Savvy Planners were identified as people who enjoy trying the latest technology products and use financial management tools to organize their finances.