How Americans Pay Their Bills: Sizing and Forecasting Bill Pay

A new report from Aite Group sizes the channels and methods that consumers use to pay their most common bills. Based on a July 2010 Aite Group survey of 4,696 US consumers, the report also forecasts channel and method usage for bill payment over the next three years.

Despite the increasing popularity of the internet and the emergence of the mobile channel as a way to transact and interact, cheques sent through the mail remain the most prevalent method for paying bills in the US. The number of bill payments made through the mail will fall just short of five billion for 2010, accounting for about one-third of all payments made, whereas payments made at a biller site – including recurring and mobile payments – will account for 23% of all bills paid in 2010.

Looking to the future, however, consumers’ bill pay behaviour is very likely to change. Roughly four in 10 consumers say they would change how they pay their bills if they received rewards for paying with a debit or credit card, or received a cash incentive for changing their behaviour. In addition, the rapid adoption of smartphones will help drive bill pay behaviour change over the next three years.

“There’s an emerging segment of consumers – which we call Smartphonatics – that will lead to an increase in the use of the online and mobile channels for paying bills,” said Ron Shevlin, senior analyst with Aite Group and co-author of this report. “These young and affluent consumers are chomping at the bit to use their smartphones, and are very likely to change how they pay bills if it becomes easier to do so via mobile. The growth of biller-direct over consolidator, coupled with the projected growth in mobile payments, means an opportunity for bill pay solutions providers to create an industry-leading mobile platform.”


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