The financially struggling U.S. Postal Service is bemoaning the accelerating shift by consumers away from sending everything from Christmas cards to bill payments by physical mail. But, on the other side of the coin, new data confirm that the automated clearing house is where a lot of former paper-based payment traffic is going.

For example, ACH transactions under the so-called WEB standard entry class code for Internet bill-payment debits grew 8.6% in the third quarter to 672.2 million versus 618.8 million transactions a year earlier, according to a report from NACHA, the rules-setting body of the ACH. WEB transactions typically are consumer payments from biller-direct Web sites or third-party processors. NACHA statistics exclude on-us traffic.