Consumers Pay Late Despite Credit Woes

While nearly all Americans recognize that paying bills late can affect their personal credit rating, some 25% admit that they still pay at least one bill late each month, according to a study conducted by Western Union.

Mortgage servicers will be happy to learn that the bill people are least likely to pay late, according to the survey, is their mortgage or rent bill.

By contrast, the bill most likely to be paid late is the utility bill. And 43% of people pay their wireless phone bill late, making it the second most common bill to be paid late. Credit card payments came in a close third, according to Western Union.

But the bill least likely to be postponed is, not surprisingly, the rent or mortgage bill, Western Union said.

In conjunction with Opinion Research Corp. International, Western Union's SwiftPay, surveyed just over 1,000 Americans to find out more about their bill-paying habits. SwiftPay is used by many consumers to pay mortgage bills just before a late fee would be assessed.

According to the survey, men are slightly better than women about paying bills on time, according to the survey.

Nearly 75% of men report that they pay all of their bills on time. By contrast, 69% of women said they pay all their bills on time.

And raising a family doesn't make it any easier to meet payment deadlines. Households with children are 75% more likely to miss a payment than those without children.

And people tend to get better about paying bills as they age, according to the survey.

Americans over the age of 55 are the least likely to pay their bills late, while those between the ages of 25-34 are the most likely to pay late. In fact, people under the age of 35 are 75% more likely than those individuals over the age of 35 to pay their bills late, according to the survey.

And geography matters as well, the survey found. People in the West typically are the most likely to pay their bills late, while those in the Northeast are the least likely to pay late.

Copyright c 2003 Thomson Media. All Rights Reserved.

Next in News ►