How Consumers Determine Which Bills to Pay

Getting into the heads of consumers is an important part of being a good debt collector and a good debt collection agency. Knowing how consumers prioritize what bills they are going to pay and which ones they might not can be incredibly useful in scoring accounts, prioritizing which accounts to call, and building an effective strategy. Perhaps something that companies in the accounts receivable management industry did not know is that when it comes to prioritizing which bills to pay, one of the biggest factors for consumers is the amount of friction in making the payment — bills that are easier to pay are more likely to get paid that bills that are harder to pay.

That was one insight from a recently released survey detailing consumer preferences with respect to bill payments. For example, 27% of consumers skipped at least one bill payment last year, and 40% of consumers made partial payments on at least one bill. Younger consumers — such as Millennials and members of Generation Z — were more likely to skip or only partially make a payment, according to the survey.

When faced with financial difficulties and unable to pay all their bills, consumers’ top priorities are utility bills and insurance bills. More than 70% of consumers would make sure to pay their utility bill and 69% said they would pay their insurance bills over everything else. Streaming services, meanwhile, are at the bottom of the list.

Fourteen percent of consumers indicated that the ease of being able to make payments was the key factor in their decision-making process of determining which bills to pay. Nearly three-quarters of respondents said that essential services were the top determinant.

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