Nearly one-third of Americans have paid a bill late in the past six months and nearly two-thirds of those who have said it was because they did not have the funds to make the payment, according to data released last week by LendingTree.
Utility bills are the most likely bill not to get paid, according to the results of a nationwide survey. Nearly half of the respondents said they were late paying their utility bill, followed by credit cards (39%), or the cable and Internet bill (34%).
Things are getting tougher for Americans, thanks to rising inflation and stagnant wage growth. Inflation has increased by more than 8% in the past year, while the average hourly earnings are down 3% from where they were a year ago, according to a published report.
Four out of 10 Americans said they are less able to cover their bill payments every month, and more than half of Americans have used overdraft protection to pay a bill. One-quarter of consumers have used overdraft more than once.
“Life is getting more expensive by the day and it’s shrinking Americans’ already tiny financial margin for error down to zero,” said Matt Schulz, the chief credit analyst at LendingTree, in a statement. “Unless they’ve been able to increase their income, millions of Americans have had to make sacrifices because of inflation to pay the bills. Perhaps the worst part is that inflation likely isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. That means that short-term quick fixes won’t cut it.”