April is a month when most Americans think about taxes. It turns out that a surprising number of them—29%—would rather mail a check to the government than use electronic methods.
That’s the word from payment technology provider ACI Worldwide Inc., which in March commissioned YouGov Plc, a global research firm headquartered in London, to survey 1,270 U.S. adults about their preferences regarding tax payments and refunds, and tax-related fraud.
“Despite the continued evolution of payment technology, nearly a third of Americans opted to write out a check and physically mail it, which takes more effort than an electronic funds withdrawal, debit or credit card payments,” Andrew Sajeski, leader of biller solutions at Naples, Fla.-based ACI Worldwide, said in a news release. “Paying by cash or check tends to take longer, and leaves the taxpayer at risk of being late, leading to additional interest and penalty charges. Moreover, if the check gets lost in the mail or stolen, the consumer’s personal information can be violated.”
Some 23% of respondents said they pay taxes by electronic fund withdrawals, 12% by debit card, 11% by credit card, 5% by cash, and 2% by other means, ACI reported. Eighteen percent said they didn’t know or weren’t sure about their payment methods.
It’s a different story regarding tax refunds. Some 71% of respondents would choose direct deposit, while only 19% prefer a check in the mail.
In other findings, ACI said 38% of U.S. adults have experienced tax scams. Telephone-based scams were the most common, reported by 27% of respondents, followed by email scams, 17%. Only 46% of respondents who use a tax preparer said they check that the preparer’s preparer tax identification number is included and sign their return, putting them at greater risk of getting scammed.