Journal of Financial Market Infrastructures

An empirical analysis of bill payment choices

Anneke Kosse

  • There is currently no single dominant bill payment method for all consumer groups and use cases.
  • Bill payment choices vary by demographics, new technology adoption and general payment habits.
  • The use of payment methods also differs by bill type, possibly signaling supply-side restrictions.
  • Overcoming consumer resistance may not be sufficient for reducing paper-based bill payments.


The aim of this paper is to examine which payment instruments Canadians use for paying bills and to assess the factors driving their bill payment behavior. I use 2019 survey data collected from over 4000 Canadians and estimate a set of binomial and multinomial regressions to assess the factors influencing consumers’ use and perception of different bill payment options. I find that there is no single dominant payment method for all consumer groups. Demographics, financial situation, new technology adoption and point-of-sale payment habits play a significant role in the usage of bill payment methods as well as in consumers’ stated reasons for and barriers to use. Moreover, I demonstrate that consumers’ bill payment behavior strongly varies by bill type. The conclusions are useful for policy makers, authorities and payment service providers intending to stimulate the uptake and use of digital payments and to encourage a migration away from paper-based payment methods. Moreover, the results are helpful for policy discussions on how to accommodate end-user needs when (re)designing retail payment systems.

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