Bill Pay Experiences Lagging for Young Adults

September 19, 2022by admin0

Innovation in the payments industry has made bill payment more convenient than ever, with mobile-first consumers able to pay from anywhere, using all types of payment, at any time.

PayNearMe customizable solutions

Yet, young adults, arguably the most mobile-savvy generation, are having more trouble than their elders in keeping track of their bills, the amount due and paying on time. More than a third (36%) of 18- to 29-year-olds either “agree” or “strongly agree” to feeling disorganized when trying to manage and pay their bills, according to a consumer survey by PayNearMe. Young adults also are more likely to miss bill payments than any other age group: 30% of those 18-29 have missed four or more bill payments during the past 12 months, compared to 25% of 30- to 44-year-olds, 19% of 45- to 60-year-olds and 8% of those over 60.

With those trends, it’s clear billers need payment systems with built-in messaging and reminder capabilities to improve on-time bill payments. But, to leverage the technology strategically, it’s necessary to understand the source of the problem.

Young adults find bill payment difficult

According to the survey, what stresses young billpayers isn’t purely financial. Only about one in five (22%) say the amount of money in their bank accounts causes bill pay stress. More commonly, they simply feel unsuccessful at the task: more than half (51%) have trouble keeping track of due dates and passwords, and about 1 in 3 (32%) struggle to figure out what they owe.

young adults mobile-first

Navigating biller websites and entering payment information each time they pay adds to the hassle for about a third of this age group (32% and 29%, respectively).

Legacy bill payment technology doesn’t address these pain points with modern supports like automated reminders, on-demand visibility into payments data, and one-touch payment features younger adults appreciate in other financial transactions (think Amazon’s Buy Now option).

When billers use legacy technology and processes not designed to meet the needs of mobile-first consumers, it creates a disconnect that makes managing finances difficult. Add to that poor mobile experience, limited payment options, and the need to create and register for an account manually, and you see where issues can arise.

Three ways to improve bill payments

What’s the solution? Billers can work with their payment provider to offer young adults tools that make money management easier and more intuitive. Here are three examples that resonate with this age group and meet that goal:

  1. Automated reminders with links
young adults use mobile-first

Some of the most effective and affordable tools in a biller’s toolbelt are automated payment reminders delivered to payers when the payment date approaches and when it’s due and overdue. Payers can choose whether and how to receive the reminders: by email, text or push notification.

Going a step further, billers can include unique, personalized links in those reminders that take payers directly to their payment flow so they can avoid having to navigate websites, remember passwords or register for an account. They can pay their bill with as few as two taps on their smartphones. No hassle, no delay.

Likewise, for the 45% of young adults who want to store and pay bills in their digital wallet, you can offer automated push notifications to alert them of an upcoming due date. To pay, customers go to the appropriate biller card in their wallet and tap on the personalized link, which takes them directly to their payment screen, where they can complete the payment with just two screen taps.

Payment reminders are the number-one thing 18- to 29-year-old adults say would help them pay on time, so offering payers that option should top billers’ to-do list. It’s a way to engage with customers, build satisfaction, and help them establish regular payment patterns that will carry into the future.

  1. Expanded options for payment

Many young adults have never written a check, and about 45% do not use a credit card. That tells you the traditional payment types that appeal to older generations do not resonate with young consumers.

young adults challenged to make timely payments

Instead, young adults would like more mobile options for bill payment, according to the survey. More than half (54%) say they would like to have the option to use PayPal, followed by Apple Pay and Google Pay (40%) and Venmo (34%). Suppose customers use these payment types in their everyday lives and say they prefer these options for bill pay. In that case, billers must find ways to enable them, and a modern payments platform can make all those options available with a single integration.

Younger payers also differ in their payment channel preferences. More than 40% say storing their bills in their Apple or Google wallets would help them pay on time. A quarter (26%) say they’d likely pay bills with cash at a retail location, such as CVS or 7-Eleven, if that option were available. Finally, when paper statements are offered, 38% of 18- to 29-year-old payers say they would like a QR code on the bill that allows them to scan and pay quickly. Your bill pay provider should be able to provide various channels to enable fast, secure and convenient payments.

  1. Easy autopay

One might wonder why more young adults don’t sign up for autopay when it’s offered. After all, that’s the easiest way to make sure payment is on-time – without all the steps young adults say makes bill pay stressful.

Fortunately, 83% of young adults have adopted autopay for at least some of their bills, but that leaves room for improvement, especially for the 17% who haven’t tried autopay at all. They cite reasons such as procrastination (18%), fear of overdraft fees (41%) and hesitancy about having payment information stored (35%). But the vast majority (60%) simply want more control over when bills get paid.

payment challenges for young people

Billers should not be discouraged. It’s possible to encourage more young adults to try autopay first by tackling the low-hanging fruit: those who are interested in autopay but just haven’t bothered to register. Nearly 40% of young adults say they would appreciate an easier way to sign up for autopay, so why not work with your payments platform provider to reduce the friction involved in getting registered? One strategy is to make autopay the default during registration and require payers to opt-out if they don’t want to participate.

For hesitant consumers, emphasizing the use of automatic reminders can help. This assures young payers they will have advance notice before payment to allow them to check bank balances and adjust payment type as necessary.

Confidence breeds success for young adults

Though dozens of factors contribute to successful bill payment, a great place to start with young payers is to help them feel more confident about bill payment by incorporating the technologies they use and appreciate. Strategies like auto reminders, expanded payment options and autopay remove friction in the bill payment cycle so young adults (or any payer, for that matter) can complete payments quickly and successfully.

When you consider these young adults could be customers for a long time, that’s clearly an investment worth making.

About the Author

John Minor PayNearMe

John Minor is Chief Product Officer for PayNearMe, leading the product, merchant services and support teams. By combining industry research with client and partner feedback, John ensures that PayNearMe’s solutions continue to lead the market in terms of mobile readiness, ease of use, and advanced bill pay and collection techniques. He plays a critical role in continuing the company’s path of innovation and commitment to making it easy for businesses to collect every payment, via any channel and payment type, every time. John has over two decades of product development experience in mobile and payment arenas. He has held leadership roles at Jasper Wireless, Good Technology and at Motorola, where he helped the company launch its first Android phone. To learn more about PayNearMe, please visit

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