New study sizes up bill payment methods

March 25, 2015

Consumers now use a wide variety of methods for paying bills, according to "Evaluating the Consumer Payments Market," a recent survey by Synergistics Research.

Internet households report paying a mean of 13.3 bills in a typical month (median = 8.0). The average number of bills paid monthly is higher among 18- to 34-year-olds and increases with household income, Synergistics said in a press release.

In the study, bill payment accounted for 37 percent of monthly bills paid, while checks comprised 22 percent of volume, followed by auto-pay at 10 percent (see chart for complete breakdown).

"Household bill payment is naturally a very basic element of consumer payments overall and represents significant transaction activity and volume," said Genie M. Driskill, COO of Synergistics, in a press release. "Online payments, although not totally dominating bill payment activity, obviously is a widely preferred method among consumers.

"Our findings also reveal that check writing has ongoing importance as a bill payment method, particularly among older customers. Other methods, although accounting for small proportions of volume, are used by notable numbers of consumers and should always be made available by billing organizations."

The Synergistics study included 1,009 national Internet interviews with consumers age 18 or older. It examined consumers' current payment habits, as well as receptivity to and adoption of innovative alternatives, and experience with payment fraud and security issues.

Topics: Bill Payment

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