New Survey Finds Many Millennials Don't Read Their Bills Before Paying Them
Millennial Bill Pay Survey Explores Habits and Preferences Millennials Use to Manage their Financial Lives
NEW YORK – July 21, 2015 – A survey conducted by Inlet, a new technology platform that enables companies to securely deliver important digital documents across multiple online consumer destinations, found that many millennials aren't looking at their bills before they pay them, and the majority don’t have an organized system to pay their bills, creating an opportunity for bill providers to engage this coveted age group early in their adult lives.
Nearly one-third of millennials don't look at bills before paying them
The Inlet survey asked U.S. consumers aged 18-24 how they usually pay their bills and how they prefer to pay bills. The survey found that nearly one-third (32 percent) of millennials don’t look at itemized bills before paying them. While past research has shown that electronic documents are more secure than paper records, consumers still need to be diligent and review their bills for incorrect charges. At the same time, companies can help their customers stay safe by keeping them informed about major account activities and also by providing secure distribution of bills to places that they trust, rather than just sending links in email form. Bill providers can motivate customers to read their bills by presenting them with interactive and relevant content when delivering those bills, especially when they can integrate mobile and online technology that delivers PDFs of bills in an easy-to-scan format.
Less than 25 percent of millennials pay bills by check
Millennials are eschewing traditional payment methods, the survey found, with less than one of four paying their basic bills by mail. When broken down, around 23 percent put a check in the mail for their utility bill, 18 percent use postal mail to pay their cable/internet bill and only 15 percent pay cell phone bills via mail. As millennials are digital natives and are accustomed to living their lives on mobile devices and social networks, this creates a market opportunity for companies to reach millennials through their customer’s choice of channel/communication – where and when they want to be reached.
“Millennials are in the crucial habit-forming stage when it comes to paying bills,” said Chuck Cordray, CEO of Inlet. “Bill providers, especially those in the cable, utilities, telecom, insurance and financial industries, have an opportunity to engage millennials, many of whom may be paying bills for the first time in their lives, and help them create responsible bill pay habits early. Having an effective digital document delivery system gives bill providers more convenient options to offer their customers interactive, secure and rich data for a better consumer experience and engagement.”
Nearly half of millennials wing it when it comes to remembering to pay bills
The survey also found that nearly half (46 percent) of millennials have no formal system to remember to pay their bills on time. According to the survey, just nine percent of millennials remember to pay their bills via email reminder, and a mere five percent receive a push notification on their phones. Companies have an opportunity to create millennial-friendly systems to encourage them to establish good financial habits. One way is for providers to better utilize technology in establishing organization and letting the customer dictate what works best for their lifestyle.
Overall, there is a critical need for companies to address bill pay issues, especially for millennials. “With just under half (42.4 percent) of millennials saying that they don’t have a favorite way to pay bills, now is the time for bill pay providers to create a customer-driven, user-friendly bill pay experience to win millennial loyalty as brand preferences become solidified at this age,” said Cordray. “By putting freedom and power into millennials’ hands, they can decide where and how they want to manage their most important documents and bills. Bill providers should make it easy for consumers to be organized.”
About the Survey
Inlet commissioned SHIFT Communications to survey U.S. online consumers about millennial bill pay habits. The survey was shown to 16,738 people ages 18-24, earning 2,006 responses, yielding a 12% response rate. The survey was weighted against the U.S. Census Bureau Current Population Survey for age, gender, and region of the United States to be representative of the population. Inlet was the sole investor in the survey. The survey period was June 18, 2015 – June 26, 2015. Data is available upon request.
The Inlet technology platform is designed to enable rich company and consumer relationships. Developed by Pitney Bowes and Broadridge Financial Solutions, Inlet allows consumers to access important documents through the online channels they already use, and offers companies a secure, customizable space to provide these documents and build relationships with customers on a daily basis. Inlet reaches millions of consumers through partnerships with cloud storage providers, banks and credit unions, digital mailboxes and payment app solutions. For more information, visit www.inletdigital.com.