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Research and Statistics

Americans fear credit score damage, fraud the most when paying bills

However, a new survey shows the incident rate and annual cost of late payment charges tower over those of identity fraud

Summary

A new survey shows that while identity fraud is a top concern among American bill-payers, late fees happen much more frequently and cost consumers more each year.

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Ask an American consumer what concerns them most about their monthly bill paying process and protecting their credit score will top the list for most.

Doxo bill pay fears survey

Behind that, U.S. bill payers are concerned about identity fraud and stolen payment information.

Only after those, landing in fourth place, is a concern about late fees. Yet the impact of those fees, as well as the finance charge that often accompanies them, is costing American households $17 billion a year.

The findings come from new survey data collected by doxo, a web and mobile bill pay service, which showed that 91% of respondents are at least a little concerned about identity fraud when thinking about their use of bill pay. In contrast, 78% expressed some concern about the impact of late fees.

See related: How to use credit card autopay (and get it right)

Yet, the incident rate of late fees is almost 10 times higher for U.S. households than the identity fraud rate. More than half of households (54%) experience at least one late payment fee per year. Meanwhile, the share of U.S. bill pay consumers hit by identity fraud is just 6%.

Though the financial hit of an identity fraud incident is generally much greater than the cost of one late fee, the significantly higher frequency of late fees translates into a much larger cost to American consumers, to the tune of $17 billion per year. That’s about five times the $3.5 billion per year inflicted by identity fraud, and averages $132 in late fees per household.

Doxo’s results were drawn from surveys of 1,105 U.S. bill-paying households, with the findings released July 14.

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