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US Consumers Swamped by Late Bill Payments; Latest Study Shows

Half of US adults paid at least one bill late during the last 12 months, but the convenience of mobile payments and digital wallets could make it easier to pay bills on time.

The payments platform PayNearMe has released the findings of its bill payment survey that reveal why some US adults are struggling to pay personal loans, auto loans, mortgages and utilities on time; with 51 per cent having paid at least one bill late during the last 12 months.

The online survey of 2,676 US consumers, aged 18 and older, highlights how US adults of all ages want to use mobile payments to pay their bills, and that having the ability to store bills in an Apple or Google Wallet and pay via a smartphone makes it easier for them to make on-time payments.

Anne Hay, Vice President, Head of Marketing at PayNearMe
Anne Hay

“Nineteen per cent say they paid a bill late because the online bill pay process was so complicated they became frustrated and didn’t complete the payment,” said Anne Hay, Head of PayNearMe’s consumer research initiative. “To increase on-time bill payments, billers need to create a frictionless payment experience and, for many consumers, that means having the ability to pay their bills via a mobile device.”

Additionally, consumers can better manage their finances when they can view and store bills in a digital wallet. For example, when consumers store bills in a digital wallet, they can enable push notifications to allow engagement communications from the biller, such as electronic bill payment reminders.

Forty-five per cent of respondents say receiving a text message or email reminding them when the bill is due would make on-time bill payment easier; 38 per cent believe that a reminder including a clickable payment link would be even more convenient, according to the findings.

The Nature of Late Payments

The survey found that 30 per cent of US adults with a personal loan admitted to making late payments, whilst 12 per cent frequently or always make late payments on personal loans and another 12 per cent states that they are likely or very likely to delay making personal loan payments.

In terms of car repayments, 28 per cent admit to making late car payments. Fifteen per cent say they frequently or always pay this bill late and 11 per cent are likely or very likely to delay making car payments.

Mortgage repayments are as equally stunted, Twenty-seven per cent of respondents with a mortgage admit to paying this bill late. Fifteen per cent say they frequently or always pay this bill late, whilst 11 per cent are likely or very likely to delay making mortgage payments.

Twenty-nine per cent with a utility bill admit to paying late; 13 per cent frequently or always make late utility payments; whilst 15 per cent are likely or very likely to delay paying their utility bill.

“When tens of millions of people are paying their bills late, billers need to adapt the bill pay process to meet customers where they are; and they are on their mobile phones,” Hay added.

Who’s Missing What?

The survey highlighted how missing payments isn’t a problem that’s limited to a certain demographic. Young adults aged between 18 and 29 years old are most likely to miss payments, in part, because they have difficulty keeping track of due dates and remembering passwords when they try to log in to pay a bill.

Adults aged between 30 and 44, who came of age with connected mobile devices, are most likely to overlook paper bills and become frustrated with a cumbersome online bill pay process.

Consumers aged between 45 and 60 are most likely to procrastinate or forget to pay a bill. Boomers, the majority of which own a smartphone, are well on their way to adopting mobile bill pay.

Paytech Beats Procrastination

Consumers of all ages agree that having more mobile payment options would make it easier to pay bills on time. Twenty-nine per cent reported how having the ability to use different payment types for each billing cycle would make it easier to pay bills on time.

Thirty per cent stated how being able to pay their bills through the likes of Venmo or PayPal would help them make more on-time payments, and 25 per cent have already used, or plan to use, Apple Pay or Google Pay to make bill payments via a mobile device.

Bill Payment Trends Across Age Groups

Baby Boomers aged 60 and older are ready to adopt mobile bill pay. Thirty per cent find the ability to scan a QR code on a paper bill statement and pay a bill in just a few mobile taps to be appealing or very appealing.

Seventeen per cent of Boomers say they are likely or very likely to use Apple Pay or Google Pay to pay bills, given the option; 16 per cent say having the ability to store their bills in an Apple or Google Wallet and pay via their smartphone would make it easier for them to pay bills on time.

“Having a mobile bill pay strategy can increase on-time bill payments across age groups,” Hay said. “PayNearMe is working with billers to enable their customers to easily pay bills directly from their mobile wallets so they can get the information they need — the amount due, payment deadline and remaining balance — right on their smartphone.”

Millions of consumers use smartphones to purchase goods and services, and the survey findings suggest they also want to use them to pay their bills.

If given the option, 38 per cent of US adults would be likely or very likely to pay their bills using Apple Pay or Google Pay, 35 per cent say having the ability to store bills in their Apple or Google Wallet and pay via smartphone would make it easier to pay bills on time; whilst 42 per cent say they would be likely or very likely to use their digital wallet to store, view and pay their recurring bills should their billers make this option available.

“Eighty-five per cent of US consumers own a smartphone, and we estimate there are billions of bill payment transactions every year,” Hay said. “It’s clear late payments don’t have a single cause, and billers need to adjust to meet the preferences of all consumers to help ease the process — and that includes offering a frictionless mobile payment experience.”

Author

  • Tyler is a fintech journalist with specific interests in online banking and emerging AI technologies. He began his career writing with a plethora of national and international publications.

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