End the Owe Woe

October 10, 2017 at 9:00 AM Eastern

People would rather trip and fall in public than ask a friend to pay them back, yet many friendships end over the topic of money, according to a survey released today by Bank of America.

The Friends Again Report explores the impact of money on even the closest relationships. Its findings underpin why Bank of America has designated October 17 as “Pay Back a Friend Day” to demonstrate that no matter how long it’s been or how much or little is owed, friendships are greater than any debt.

“The report findings quantify the tremendous toll on friendships from owing – and being owed – money,” said Meredith Verdone, chief marketing officer at Bank of America. “We created Pay Back a Friend Day to help our customers begin a conversation with their friends about what can be a painful topic.”

Key findings from the report include:

  • Nearly half of respondents cited money as a cause of stress in their friendships, and many admit they would rather talk to their friends about nearly anything – including their love life or family drama – than money.
  • Fifty-three percent have seen a friendship end over money owed, while 43 percent would be willing to end a relationship with a friend for not paying them back. Of those, nearly three-quarters say they would end the friendship over $500 or less.
  • Asking a friend to settle up was second (48 percent) only to forgetting someone’s name (54 percent) among a range of uncomfortable scenarios.
  • Nearly one in five respondents have avoided a friend to whom they owe money. They most commonly ignored their friend’s calls or texts (56 percent), skipped a party (30 percent) or lied about their whereabouts (22 percent).
  • While honesty (84 percent) and time (74 percent) top the list of ways to save a failing friendship, many (38 percent) believe paying back a debt can also help to salvage the relationship.
  • Mobile payment apps ease the social friction among friends, as many say the technology holds debtors accountable for amounts owed (33 percent) and eliminates the awkwardness of face-to-face confrontation (30 percent).
  • Nearly one in five say sending money via mobile would improve their relationship with friends, with millennials twice as likely to say so (41 percent).

“Friends should feel free to talk about anything and everything, but unfortunately that’s not the reality when it comes to money,” said Verdone. “Settling debts via mobile can help friends re-establish connections that they might have feared were lost forever.”

Erasing awkward “friend debts” is now easier than ever with Bank of America’s Mobile Banking app. Through Zelle®, the person-to-person payment functionality within the app, consumers can send, receive and request money to almost anyone typically within minutes1, regardless of where they bank in the U.S. The three features of Zelle (Send, Request, Split) allow people to settle up old debts or avoid owing friends money back in the first place, while improving their relationships in no time with the message, “Pay them back. Be Friends Again.”

1 If the recipient is not enrolled with Zelle, the payment could take between one and three days to receive once they enroll.


About the Bank of America Friends Again Report

Convergys (an independent market research company) conducted a nationally representative online survey on behalf of Bank of America August 8-18, 2017 using a panel-provided sample. Convergys surveyed 1,000 respondents throughout the U.S., comprised of adults 18+ who own a smartphone. In addition, an Omnibus was conducted July 24-26, 2017 with a sample of 1,000 nationally representative online panelists ages 18+.

Bank of America’s Mobile Banking Leadership

With 23 million active mobile users and growing, Bank of America’s mobile banking platform is an evolving source of increased customer engagement and satisfaction. During the second quarter of 2017, mobile banking customers logged into their accounts 1 billion times, or approximately 47 times per user. During that same period, customers made more than 30 million mobile bill payments and nearly 11 million P2P transfers, a growth of 89 percent over 2016. Customers also used their mobile devices to deposit more than 340,000 checks daily and redeem over 1 million credit card cash and travel rewards. More customers are opening new accounts through mobile, with sales increasing by 47 percent over the past year.

Bank of America

Bank of America is one of the world's leading financial institutions, serving individual consumers, small and middle-market businesses and large corporations with a full range of banking, investing, asset management and other financial and risk management products and services. The company provides unmatched convenience in the United States, serving approximately 47 million consumer and small business relationships with approximately 4,500 retail financial centers, approximately 16,000 ATMs, and award-winning digital banking with approximately 34 million active users, including 23 million mobile users. Bank of America is a global leader in wealth management, corporate and investment banking and trading across a broad range of asset classes, serving corporations, governments, institutions and individuals around the world. Bank of America offers industry-leading support to approximately 3 million small business owners through a suite of innovative, easy-to-use online products and services. The company serves clients through operations in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and more than 35 countries. Bank of America Corporation stock (NYSE: BAC) is listed on the New York Stock Exchange.

For more Bank of America news, including dividend announcements and other important information, visit the Bank of America newsroom. Register for news email alerts.

Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC © 2017 Bank of America Corporation.

Zelle and the Zelle-related marks are wholly owned by Early Warning Services, LLC and are used herein under license.