Six Out of 10 Americans are Anxious About Bills and Nearly Half are Late on Paying Them, Study Shows

ACI and Visa-commissioned report from Aite Group reveals majority of bill payments are one-time vs. recurring; Opportunity exists to make bill payment more convenient through recurring payments, text-to-pay and other digital payment methods

NAPLES, Fla.--()--A new report from Aite Group, sponsored by ACI Worldwide (NASDAQ: ACIW), a leading global provider of real-time electronic payment and banking solutions, and Visa (NYSE: V), revealed that when it comes to bills, Americans are sometimes anxious (60%), late (46%) and have to call about their account (39%). The report, “U.S. Consumer Payments Experience: A Blueprint for Creating Positive Behaviors,” surveyed 2,425 U.S. consumers.

Principal findings from the study include:

  • More than three-fifths (61%) of consumers make one-time bill payments, instead of using automatic or recurring payments resulting in nearly half (46%) of consumers paying a bill 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
  • Even with a strong economy, Americans are not ready for extra bills
    • Only 26 percent can always pay monthly bills even when there are extra bills that month
    • 17 percent say they can always pay unforeseen bills without using credit or a loan
  • Consumers want more control of how they manage their bills
    • Among consumers who pay late (46%), 72 percent are “very” to “extremely likely” to pay on time if they can pay with a debit or credit card
    • 82 percent note that a website allowing them to pay over time or negotiate the amount they owe would help them pay on time
    • 69 percent who pay late are “very” to “extremely likely” to pay on time if they can pay by text message
  • Consumers’ approach to paying bills revolves around their paycheck
    • 89 percent of consumers employ a structured strategy to paying bills
    • 35 percent adopt a strategy centered around their paycheck
    • Only 13 percent adopt a strategy centered around the due date of the bill

“As we head into the holiday season, where consumer spending is at its peak, these results provide insights into where businesses can make adjustments to improve the bill payment experience,” said Andrew Sajeski, business leader, Biller Solutions, ACI Worldwide. “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.”

“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. “Visa Debit is the most frequently used payment method for all household and personal bills because it provides consumers more control, while helping businesses reduce late payments. 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.”

“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 Group. “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 consumer payment behaviors.”

Click here to download a complimentary copy of the full report.

ACI’s UP Bill Payment solution is an integrated suite of bill presentment and payment services that empowers the success of 3,600 clients. UP Bill Payment is proven to raise consumer satisfaction by 25 percent by offering easy ways to view and pay bills.


The survey, based on a Q3 2018 Aite Group survey of 2,425 U.S. consumers, was conducted online to U.S. adult consumers. Participants indicated that they paid at least one of the following bills in the last 12 months: mortgage payment, auto loan or lease payment, university/college/trade school tuition or fees, health insurance premium (paid specifically to the health insurance company, not through an employer), or medical services payments not including co-pays, but to meet deductibles or pay for doctor’s bills, lab or hospital fees, dentists’ bill.

The report data has a margin of error of two points at the 95 percent level of confidence.

About ACI Worldwide

ACI Worldwide, the Universal Payments (UP) company, powers electronic payments for more than 5,100 organizations around the world. More than 1,000 of the largest financial institutions and intermediaries, as well as thousands of global merchants, rely on ACI to execute $14 trillion each day in payments and securities. In addition, myriad organizations utilize our electronic bill presentment and payment services. Through our comprehensive suite of software solutions delivered on customers’ premises or through ACI’s private cloud, we provide real-time, immediate payments capabilities and enable the industry’s most complete omni-channel payments experience. To learn more about ACI, please visit You can also find us on Twitter @ACI_Worldwide.

© Copyright ACI Worldwide, Inc. 2018.

ACI, ACI Worldwide, ACI Payment Systems, the ACI logo, ACI Universal Payments, UP, the UP logo, ReD, PAY.ON and all ACI product names are trademarks or registered trademarks of ACI Worldwide, Inc., or one of its subsidiaries, in the United States, other countries or both. Other parties’ trademarks referenced are the property of their respective owners.

Product roadmaps are for informational purposes only and may not be incorporated into a contract or agreement. The development release and timing of future product releases remains at ACI’s sole discretion. ACI is providing the following information in accordance with ACI's standard product communication policies. Any resulting features, functionality, and enhancements or timing of release of such features, functionality, and enhancements are at the sole discretion of ACI and may be modified without notice. All product roadmap or other similar information does not represent a commitment to deliver any material, code, or functionality, and should not be relied upon in making a purchasing decision.


Dan Ring

Nidhi Alberti

Release Summary

ACI and Visa-commissioned report from Aite Group reveals majority of bill payments are one-time vs. recurring



Dan Ring

Nidhi Alberti