Lexop, a fintech helping organisations automate and scale their collections operations, has surveyed American consumers to explore past-due consumer behaviour, identify payment patterns, and highlight how businesses could better assist their customers.
Findings revealed how simple improvements to billing and collections processes could significantly reduce delinquency rates and motivate past-due customers to self-cure. Lexop’s ‘Behind on Bills: A 2023 Survey of Overdue US Consumers‘ over 1,100 American consumers who were late in paying their bills.
For 44 per cent of respondents, keeping up with bills was the top financial priority of 2023. Twenty-five per cent explained that they are prioritising paying down debt as a result of this. The financial strain on consumers is evident when considering the impact of a delayed or missed paycheck, as 43 per cent revealed having to use their savings to make ends meet. Another 36 per cent don’t have enough money to cover their bills.
Following these findings, Lexop is calling for businesses to consider their customers’ financial realities when issuing bills and be proactive in providing alternative ways for them to manage payments, such as offering custom payment arrangements.
Interestingly, 60 per cent of respondents reported that non-monetary reasons were the cause of them falling behind on bills. The most popular reasons found were:
- 30 per cent forgot to pay the invoice
- 10 per cent noted invoice errors
- eight per cent cited expired pre-authorised payment methods
- seven per cent were unable to access the bills
- five per cent didn’t receive the bills at all
These non-financial reasons for being late highlight the importance of providing customers with timely reminders and addressing process-related issues contributing to late payments.
Supporting consumers in paying on time
Lexop also surveyed consumers regarding their ideal notification schedule for paying bills. Fifty-five per cent of respondents would prefer receiving a reminder one week before a bill is due. Another 22 per cent wanted an additional reminder the day before the due date.
The survey also found that 85 per cent of overdue consumers paid within 30 days of the due date, and an overwhelming 60 per cent paid their late bills within the first week. This finding is significant for businesses, as it suggests that they could easily improve cash flow and reduce the number of late payments by leveraging digital tools to send more frequent automated reminders to their customers.
Seventy-three per cent of respondents said that a simplified digital experience would make paying their late bills easier, including more reminders sent via SMS and email, a streamlined online payment process, and one-click payment links.
Only ten per cent said traditional tactics including letters and collection calls are helpful. Companies looking to improve their collection rates may need to prioritise technology investments to meet consumer expectations for a simplified, self-serve digital payment experience.
Amir Tajkarimi, CEO and co-founder of Lexop, explained how businesses need to adapt how they collect payment for bills: “Collecting doesn’t have to be complicated. It all comes down to getting the attention of your past-due customer and making it easy for them to pay. Now more than ever, businesses must be proactive to succeed in their collections efforts. Technology is a great way to get ahead of the curve, making it easy to provide digital payment options, automate timely reminders, and offer flexible payment arrangements.”