Nearly one of three consumers is past due on at least one bill - due to COVID-19 pandemic, new ACI Worldwide research reveals

  • Covid-19 , e-Payments , Banking
  • 20.05.2020 07:42 pm

Nearly one of three consumers (27%) is past due on at least one bill and nearly 50 percent will need up to a year to catch up on bills due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new study from YouGov and ACI Worldwide (NASDAQ: ACIW), a leading global provider of real-time electronic payment and banking solutions.

The study of nearly 1,400 U.S. adults analyzes the financial impacts brought about by COVID-19 and includes regional and generational bill payments breakdowns and priorities. While nearly half of millennials need to make bill pay arrangements or request deferrals, less than 15 percent (13%) of baby boomers face similar circumstances, while 31 percent of Gen Xers have similarly requested a payment arrangement. 

With mounting bills, consumers are tasked with prioritizing those they pay first. Among all respondents, Mortgage and Rent are the overwhelming priorities, at 81 percent and 78 percent, respectively. This is followed by Utilities at 23 percent, a nearly 50 percent dip from Rent. The lowest bill payment priorities include Cable/Internet and Cell Phone, at 3 percent and 5 percent, respectively.


Bill Payment Priorities Overall

  • Mortgage: 81 percent
  • Rent: 78 percent
  • Utilities: 23 percent
  • Tax bills: 15 percent
  • Auto lease/loan: 10 percent


Bill Payment Priorities by Generation

  • Top Millennial and Older Gen Z Bill Priorities: Rent (73%), Mortgage (60%)
  • Bottom Millennial and Older Gen Z Bill Priorities: Cable/Internet (4%), Cell Phone (11%)
  • Top Gen X Bill Priorities: Mortgage (80%), Rent (80%)
  • Bottom Gen X Bill Priorities: Cable/Internet and Cell Phone (5%)
  • Top Baby Boomer Bill Priorities: Mortgage (90%), Rent (81%)
  • Bottom Baby Boomer Bill Priorities: Cable/Internet (1%), Cell Phone (2%)


When asked about personal financial outlooks, consumers with past due bills have different perspectives.

From an Age Perspective:

  • Baby Boomers are most pessimistic, expecting to take 1-2 years to recover
  • Gen Xers expect to catch up in 4-12 months
  • Millennial and Older Gen Z are most optimistic about catching up on past due bills, expecting to do so within 3 months


From a Regional Perspective:

  • Nearly 30 percent of those in the Midwest expect the longer 1-2-year recovery
  • 53 percent in the Northeast expect to catch up with 4-12 months
  • Nearly 50 percent of respondents in the West expect to catch up within 3 months


“With increasing job losses, furloughs and reductions of hours and pay, so many consumers are facing substantial financial difficulties - resulting in both overdue bills and bill deferrals,” said Sanjay Gupta, executive vice president, ACI Worldwide. “Consumers, now more than ever, need financial flexibility. We’re seeing more billers working to accommodate and ease consumer stress and provide payment relief. However, with more than 44 percent of consumers indicating it will take 4 months to a year to get current with their bills, there is much more work to be done here.”


Survey Methodology

All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 1,384 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between April 29-30, 2020. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all US adults (aged 18+).

*ACI’s rapid response approach to COVID-19 includes new capabilities - Delay My Payment and Manage My Payment - designed to help billers and their consumers with short and long-term payment pause and payment plan arrangements.

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