Have Cards, Will Travel

If card payment is late, we’d prefer a nudge by email or text

Sabrina Karl
Personal Finance Writer
Data whiz and visual storyteller


If you’ve missed making a payment on time, chances are your bank nudged you with an email message. But while emails have been the most welcome reminder among U.S. consumers, text message reminders are becoming increasingly preferred.

New survey findings from credit data firm FICO indicate that 42 percent of Americans receive their late-payment reminders via email, with U.S. mail coming in second at 24 percent. Text messages and mobile app notifications followed in close third and fourth ranks, at 15 and 12 percent, respectively.

But when asked which nagging method consumers would prefer, text messages now hold a commanding second place, named by a third of respondents (33 percent) and sitting just behind the 36 percent who said they prefer email reminders.

When asked about being nudged on social media, the response was overwhelmingly negative. More than 2 out of 3 respondents (68 percent) said they were extremely uncomfortable with reminders appearing in the social media or chat apps they use, with an additional 14 percent saying they would not be very comfortable.

Going beyond delivery method, the style and content of the reminders matter to consumers, too. Thirty percent of respondents said they’d most likely respond to a late payment reminder if the message was “friendly and helpful.” Respondents also demonstrated a preference for being contacted by a live person (26 percent) versus an automated message (18 percent).

FICO’s survey was conducted in June 2017 among 415 U.S. consumers age 18 and older, with findings released Nov. 21.

Late payment reminder preferences

See related: Consumers grow more fearful they will miss a paymentFewer late payments on cards show consumer strength, banks say, How late payments get reported to credit bureaus, Payment history: The most important credit score component

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