Research and Statistics

Paper credit card bills? OK. Mail back payments? Nah


Study shows we still like to receive, but not return, bills by mail

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A majority of Americans’ monthly credit card bills still get printed on paper and delivered through the mail. But only 1 out of 6 cardholders in turn pay them with paper checks, envelopes and stamps.

Research firm Aite Group found that 37 percent of major credit card bills are being sent by paper delivery only, and another 23 percent are being delivered both electronically and by mail, for a total of 60 percent of bills involving a paper delivery.

See related: Poll: Pay with cash or card for $5 purchase?, More infographics

Not surprisingly, older cardholders are most likely to get a mailed statement, with 71 percent of seniors receiving their bill by mail. The percent drops with each generation, with paper deliveries going to only 54 percent of millennials.

But the preference between electronic and traditional methods shifts considerably when it comes to paying those bills. Among payment options, the biller’s website is the runaway favorite among all generations, cited by 46 percent of major credit cardholders. Paying via a bank’s website was a distant second at 22 percent and mailed payments came in third with 16 percent.

Although a majority of all generations favor electronic payment methods for their credit card bills, the share of those who still pay by mail increases with age. Among millennials, only 10 percent are sending in a check, compared to 31 percent for seniors.

Aite Group’s  survey was conducted online among 1,862 adults who hold a major credit card, with results weighted to represent U.S. Census demographics. Data were collected in the third quarter of 2016, with findings released July 27, 2017.

We still like getting paper credit card bills, but won't mail payments back

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