Consumers are Using Their $1400 Stimulus Checks to Pay Down Debt and Household Bills

doxo’s data shows that once stimulus checks started to appear in people’s accounts, they almost immediately began to use the money to pay household bills. From March 17th to March 21st, we saw a 30% increase in the number of payments as compared to the same period last month. During that time frame, the total amount of payments made were 37% higher as compared to the same period last month.

Increase in payments when comparing data from 3/17 to 3/21 to the same time period in February 2021:

Number of paymentsAmount of payments
Total29.8%37.2%

Based on the above, combined with publicly available information related to the total amount of stimulus checks and the fact that according to doxo, consumers spend $4.404 Trillion per year on household bills, we estimate that the majority – 62% – of the $1400 stimulus checks are being used to pay household bills.

Consumers are using the money to pay down debt/money they owe

doxo’s data also reveals that consumers are using the stimulus money to pay down debt/money they owe, in what appears to be big chunks. The fact that the average payment amount increased even greater than the volume is an indication that many people were catching up on missed or reduced prior payments (something that, when surveyed in October 2020, they indicated they had needed to do: 42% ofAmericans have skipped paying one or more bills since the COVID-19 pandemic started).

Bill pay categories (that align to what those consumers indicated they would pay with their stimulus checks) where this is the most obvious include:

  • Credit Cards: we have seen a 29% increase in credit card payments as compared to the same period last month, and a 72% increase in terms of the amount paid
  • Utilities: we have seen a 23% increase in utilities payments as compared to the same period last month, and a 41% increase in terms of the amount paid
  • Cable/Internet: we have seen a 20% increase in cable/internet payments as compared to the same period last month, and a 25% increase in terms of the amount paid
  • Mobile Phone: we have seen a 13% increase in cable/internet payments as compared to the same period last month, and a 16% increase in terms of the amount paid
  • Loans (mortgage, HELOCs, Auto, etc.): we have seen a 12% increase in loan payments as compared to the same period last month, and a 13% increase in terms of the amount paid

Increase in payments for the categories with the most change when comparing data from 3/17 to 3/21 to the same period in February 2021 :

Number of paymentsAmount of payments
Credit Cards 28.5%72.0%
Utilities23.0%40.7%
Cable & Internet19.7%25.4%
Mobile Phone12.7%15.6%
Loans (auto, mortgage, home equity, etc.)11.5%13.4%

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