Americans Are Anxious about Bills — Nearly Half Are Late on Payments

November 29 — When it comes to bills, the majority (60 percent) of Americans express anxiety, while nearly half (46 percent) are behind on payments and over a third (39 percent) feel a need to call about their accounts.

Aite Group, sponsored by ACI Worldwide, has commissioned a new report, U.S. Consumer Payments Experience: A Blueprint for Creating Positive Behaviors, which surveyed 2,425 U.S. consumers. Results of the survey showed that 61 percent of consumers make one-time bill payments instead of using automatic or recurring payments. This results in nearly half of consumers paying bills late.

  • 23 percent pay within the first 30 days after the due date
  • 18 percent sometimes pay beyond 30 days after the due date
  • 5 percent never pay on time

“Consumers want more choice and control when it comes to paying bills, given most of them choose to pay bills around their paycheck versus the bill due date,” said Bill Dobbins, senior vice president, head of business development, Visa. “As businesses consider how to improve customers’ payment experience, the number one thing they can do is ensure their business is equipped to accept electronic payments,” he continued.

The survey bears out Dobbins’ conclusions. Among those consumers who pay late, 72 percent are “very” to “extremely likely” to pay on time if they can pay with a debit or credit card, and 82 percent not that a website allowing them to pay over time or negotiate the amount they owe would help them pay on time. Over two-thirds of respondents (69 percent) who pay late said they would be “very” to “extremely likely” to pay on time if they could pay by text message.

“As we head into the holiday season, where consumer spending is at its peak,” said Andrew Sajeski, business leader, biller solutions, ACI, “these results provide insight into where businesses can make adjustments to improve bill payment experience. For example, text for pay is a tool that isn’t being utilized enough, even though consumers are very willing to use it. In addition, the digitization of customer communication tools can help businesses enhance the customer experience and lower costs relative to conventional communication methods.”

Paycheck receipt also greatly affects bill pay, the study found. The vast majority of consumers (89 percent) employ a structured strategy in paying bills, and more than a third (35 percent) adopt a strategy centered around their paycheck. Only 13 percent adopt a strategy centered around the due date of the bill.

“This data confirms our suspicions and previous research that consumers’ frustrations are high regarding their bill payment experience,” said Michael Trilli, research director and co-author of the report, insurance Aite. “This research is unique because we’re able to connect how a series of tools ranging from reminders to card payments and debit card refunds can ward off frustrations and change consumers payment behaviors.”

To download the full report, click here.


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