Consumer Expectations & Experiences 2019

I’ve written in past years about the Fiserv Billing Household Survey, now called Expectations & Experiences: Consumer Payments, which describes consumer trends in paying bills. You can read those articles from 20132015, 2016, and 2018.


Results of the 2019 survey

You can find a summary of the results of the 2019 survey here. Toward the bottom of the page is an orange button with a link to download a document with more detail about the survey results.

The document lists four major findings, of which the top three are applicable to utilities:

  • Online payment activity is increasing
  • Security concerns are decreasing
  • Decrease in need for a paper trail
  • Person-to-person payments are becoming more popular

Let’s examine the first three in more detail:

Online payment activity is increasing

While this isn’t at all surprising at face value, what is surprising is the use of online payments by baby boomers and seniors is increasing faster than any other age group. However, as was my point in the last Utility Information Pipeline, the overall use of online payments is highest among younger people.

Mail is still the most popular method of receiving bills (49%), but being able to view a bill from your website is close behind (41%), a significant increase from 2017.

Security concerns are decreasing

What I find most intriguing about this finding is more people believe paying their bill on your website (46%) is more secure than paying by mail (40%)! What this tells me is, if you’re not offering online bill pay, you are doing your customers a disservice!

Decrease in need for a paper trail

I hadn’t thought about this perspective in the past, but apparently one of the factors keeping customers from paying online is the lack of a paper trail. However, as the graphic above points out, the percentage of customers who don’t use online or mobile bill pay has decreased from 37% in 2016 to 28% in 2018.

The bottom line

In the final analysis, if you’re not offering online bill pay or ebill presentment, you likely aren’t meeting the needs of your customers, no matter what their age group is.

Have you completed the 2019 Utility Fee Survey?

If you haven’t yet completed the 2019 Utility Fee Survey, please click here to complete the survey. It should take less than five minutes to complete.

If you have any questions, please feel free to e-mail me at gsanders@edmundsgovtech.com or call me at 919-232-2320.

Please feel free to share this survey with your peers at other utilities.

Thank you in advance for taking the time to complete the survey and for sharing it with other utilities.

Unsure what payment methods you should offer?

If you’re wondering if your utility is offering the best possible payment options, please give me a call at 919-232-2320, or email me at gsanders@edmundsgovtech.com for more information about how a business review could help you find out.

Click here to subscribe to my free, bi-weekly email newsletter...

© 2019 Gary Sanders

Is there a payment generation gap…?

I was recently reading a blog post from a LinkedIn connection about how Gen Z Consumers Shop. I’m not really interested in how they shop, but I thought it might provide some insight into how they pay. Interestingly enough, embedded in that article was a link to another blog post about how different age groups prefer to pay. Now we’re on to something!

Coincidentally, if you’re as confused as I am about Gen X, Gen Y, Millennials, and Gen Z, here’s a great explanation. What will the next generation be called? Gen AA? That’s a little spreadsheet humor…

Relevance to your utility

What is the relevance of all this to a utility? I think it boils down to knowing your customer demographic. If you serve a primarily aging Baby Boomer customer base, you probably still see lots of check payments, so you might want to consider some type of remittance processing system.

Similarly, if your customers are more likely to have a landline phone than a computer at home, an IVR system may make more sense than online bill pay.

On the other hand, if your customer demographic is younger, you probably see more use of online payments, either initiated through your customer’s bank or from your website.

And, of course, you want to offer bank drafts for all age groups!

Consider your options

The point of all this is so you can keep in mind your customer base when deciding what payment options to offer. Even though you personally might never use a particular payment method, it doesn’t mean your customers won’t.

Have you completed the 2019 Utility Fee Survey?

If you haven’t yet completed the 2019 Utility Fee Survey, please click here to complete the survey. It should take less than five minutes to complete.

If you have any questions, please feel free to e-mail me at gsanders@edmundsgovtech.com or call me at 919-232-2320.

Please feel free to share this survey with your peers at other utilities.

Thank you in advance for taking the time to complete the survey and for sharing it with other utilities.

Connect on LinkedIn

In the opening paragraph I mentioned LinkedIn. If you’re on LinkedIn and we aren’t connected, please send me a connection request!

Unsure what payment methods you should offer?

If you’re wondering if your utility is offering the best possible payment options, please give me a call at 919-232-2320, or email me at gsanders@edmundsgovtech.com for more information about how a business review could help you find out.

Click here to subscribe to my free, bi-weekly email newsletter...

© 2019 Gary Sanders