Payments Disconnect: 80% of Billers Offer in-Person or Mail Payments While Consumers Prefer Digital

Consumers’ Struggle to Pay Bills Reaches New Volatility

In today’s digital age, consumers have varied payment preferences when it comes to paying their bills and are increasingly looking for convenient and efficient ways to do so.

However, there’s a disconnect between consumer preferences and billers’ offerings, according to the PYMNTS report “Why Holistic Bill Payment Experiences Will Win the Payment Platform War,” which explores consumer and executive experiences and perceptions of the bill payment process and payment portals.

Findings captured in the joint PYMNTS-Paymentus study showed that the most popular bill payment method, chosen by nearly 15% of consumers, is manually paying by computer on the billers’ website or via a bank’s payment system.

Bill Pay Options

Automatic payment methods follow closely behind, with 13% of consumers going for this option either through a bank’s payment system or the biller’s website.

In terms of generational differences, “baby boomers and seniors prefer manual payments through billers’ websites, with 19% identifying manual payments made using billers’ websites as their most preferred payment channel,” the report stated. Additionally, 18% of this demographic prefers their banks’ payment systems.

Millennials, on the other hand, are more inclined to use billers’ mobile apps, with 24% of them opting for this channel — almost five times the share of baby boomers and seniors who choose this option.

As the report noted, “this age disparity highlights the reality that no single payment channel is ideal for all consumers; the best solution will offer a variety of options.” However, billers often lag behind in offering the payment options that consumers prefer.

The study found that over 80% of billers surveyed offer consumers the option to pay bills in person at a physical location, while 77% offer mail payments — two options that are not preferred by either older or younger consumers.

Moreover, the option to pay via mobile apps, which is a millennial favorite, is only offered by about 52% of billers, further highlighting the need for innovation in the bill payment space.

To ensure inclusiveness and seamless payment experiences, “it is critical to enable consumers to pay how they want, whether they use cash, a credit card, a direct payment from a bank account or a combination of multiple methods for the same payment,” per the report.

Failing to do so may result in excluding certain consumers and adding unnecessary friction to the bill payment process, leading to increased customer service time, collections actions, and even service interruptions.