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Bill Payments in 2017: 7 Insights About Payment Methods

Posted by Alison Arthur on 11 Oct 2018


The decisions that consumers make when paying their bills are driven by a variety of factors. For instance, what are their preferences when it comes to payment methods (ACH, debit cards, and credit cards)? Are they more likely to select a specific payment method depending on the industry that’s issuing the bill? What payment channels are they most likely to use? And what time of day is most popular for making electronic bill payments?

Here at Alacriti, we have unique insight into how consumers approach their bill payments. Our electronic bill presentment and payment solution, Orbipay® EBPP, provides a trove of transaction data from which we can gain a better understanding of consumers’ bill payment preferences and behavior. A deep dive into this data gives a glimpse at how customers fund their bill payments, when they are most likely to pay, and what payment channels they gravitate toward the most.

In this three-part series, we share some of the key observations we extracted from 2017’s transaction data. Part 1 is dedicated to insight we revealed about payment method usage including ACH, credit cards, and debit cards.

Insight #1: ACH was the most popular payment method offered by Orbipay EBPP clients in 2017

Across all clients on the platform, 93% offered ACH as a payment method to their customers. This was followed by debit cards (65%) and credit cards (61%).

Insight #2: ACH was the payment method selected most often by Orbipay EBPP users

Across all transactions, ACH was the most used payment method representing 51% of total volume for the year. Debit cards accounted for 31% of total transactions and credit cards accounted for 18%.

Insight #3: Debit cards were used most often for transactions under $20

When all three payment methods (ACH, credit cards, and debit cards) were available to users, debit cards were used most frequently (43%) for transactions under $20.00. For all other transaction amounts, ACH was the payment method of choice, especially for transactions that exceeded $2,000.00 (ACH was used 87% of the time).

Insight #4: When ACH wasn’t an option, users chose debit cards

Despite its popularity, not all Orbipay EBPP clients offered ACH as a payment method to their customers. For clients that didn’t offer ACH as a funding method but did accept payments via debit cards and credit cards, debit cards were the more popular payment method. They were used approximately 71% of the time versus credit cards, which were chosen 29% of the time.

Insight #5: ACH was the most popular payment method for Recurring and AutoPay transactions

For users that scheduled their payments using Orbipay EBPP’s Recurring (due dates and payment amounts chosen by the customer within the client’s parameters) or AutoPay (automatic payments with due dates and payment amounts set by the client) options, ACH was the payment method of choice. ACH payments accounted for 67% of all Recurring transactions and 71% of all AutoPay transactions in 2017.

Debit cards were the payment method of choice for One Time payments (single payments that were not part of an ongoing series) at 44%, Invoice payments (payments made toward specific invoices) at 46%, and Payment Plans (payments made in installments using parameters set by the client) at 58%.

Credit cards saw their highest usage for Invoice payments (34%), although debit cards were still used more often (46%).

Insight #6: Customers’ choice of payment method varied depending on the payment channel used

ACH was the most popular payment method for Web Portal transactions (payments that required a login via User ID and Password) at 71%. However, debit cards were used most often across all other payment channels analyzed:

  • Telephone-based Interactive Voice Response (IVR) - 62% of total payments made by debit cards
  • Guest Payments (online payments that didn’t require a login via User ID and password) - 44% of total payments made by debit cards
  • Agent (agent-assisted payments) - 49% of total payments made by debit cards

Credit cards experienced their highest usage for Guest Payment transactions (no login required) at 28%, although debit cards were used more often.

Insight #7: ACH was the payment method of choice among many industries…but not all

Across all industries analyzed, ACH was used most often for Real Estate & Construction (82%), Manufacturing & Distribution (74%), and Government (69%) payments. The Utilities, Insurance, and Financial Services industries also had more than 50% of their payments funded via ACH.

Debit cards were used most often in the Education (55%), Banking (54%), and Healthcare (53%) industries. Credit cards experienced their highest usage for Education payments at 34%, although debit cards were still used more frequently.

Part 2 of this series will examine 2017 trends in payment options including AutoPay, One Time, and Recurring payments.

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Alison Arthur Product and Content Marketing Manager Alison creates timely product marketing and thought leadership content that keeps Alacriti's community informed on the latest developments in billing and payments technology. With a background in payments and financial services, Alison specializes in composing content related to technology, security, compliance, and overall industry trends.

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