People are struggling to pay their monthly bills. For many US households, personal finances are being unexpectedly strained as a result of the COVID-19 health crisis. From reductions in working hours and hourly wages to lost jobs and closed businesses, the impact on US households’ income has been swift and severe.
To gain a deeper understanding of these dynamics, TransUnion has been conducting a multi-wave Consumer Financial Hardship Study that tracks changes over time. TransUnion has conducted 11 waves, analyzing responses from more than 27,500 consumers between March 16, 2020 and July 31, 2020.
The study offers utility companies a focused understanding of the impact of COVID-19 on their business. TransUnion is also helping utility companies with access to rich information detailing these trends.
Utility analysis highlights:
- 19% of utility consumers indicate they will not be able to pay their utility bills. Relative to other categories of obligations, utilities are in a more favorable payment position.
- At only 7%, the percentage of consumers enrolled in a financial accommodation for their utilities is one of the lowest of any of the financial obligations analyzed.
- 34% of consumers would prefer a repayment plan that will allow them to gradually catch up on the outstanding debt when financial accommodations end, while making their regular monthly payments at the same time.
- Younger generations have been hit harder by the pandemic, with 26% of Millennials indicating they will not be able to pay their utility bills.
Utilities nationally are under pressure from consumers who are financially stressed due to COVID-19 and the loss of income it has caused. Determining an accurate projection for monthly revenue while reviewing customers’ ability to make payments in a timely fashion is critical. With the pandemic extending into the summer months, actionable data is more important than ever. TransUnion helps in this capacity by providing a clear picture of customers’ financial health, enabling utilities to take the right actions and make better decisions in real time.
More than half of US consumers have had their income negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. In the latest wave of our survey (July 31, 2020) 57% of US households indicated that their income has been negatively impacted.
Percentage of households with negatively impacted income due to COVID19