Data Snacks, Member Exclusive

Data Snack: Behind the mismatch between consumer payment preferences and what their actual experiences

  • Consumers are embracing the move to digital, with 74% preferring to make payments digitally.
  • When it comes to receiving disbursements from firms, American consumers report speed, choice, and convenience as top factors.

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Data Snack: Behind the mismatch between consumer payment preferences and what their actual experiences

The vast majority of US consumers prefer to make and receive payments using digital methods. A belief that digital transactions are safer than traditional payment methods is driving this behavior. 

For brands looking to succeed in the payment space, it is becoming increasingly important to understand consumer behavior, like what sort of payments they’re using; what they value the most in the payment process;  and which newer technologies they plan to try.

Onbe’s Future of Payments report takes on some of these questions. The report was drafted out of 1,191 American consumers' responses, who were asked to complete a 17 question survey.

The shift of preferences to digital

Ever since the pandemic, global finance has accelerated its move to digital, carrying the momentum in 2022. With the rise of services like P2P payments, mobile wallets, bank prepaid cards, and shopping preferences moving from in-store to online, consumers have come to embrace the new digital payment ecosystem.

Source: Onbe, Tearsheet Research

The survey found:

  • 74% of consumers prefer to make payments digitally
  • 65% of consumers believe digital payments are the most secure
  • 32% of consumers plan on using cash and checks less or not at all in 2022


So, what will consumers do in 2022? The report found:

  • 20% will use mobile wallets more than they currently do.
  • 19% will use P2P apps more than they currently do
  • 23% will shop online more than they currently do

To develop a ‘future-proof payment strategy’, brands can enable customers that embrace digital methods, according to the report. This includes not only accepting newer payment methods, like Apple Pay and Venmo, but also enabling spend channel flexibility, like virtual incentives and rewards that can be used online or added to a mobile wallet for spending in-person.

Company disbursements

When brands disburse funds for whatever reason –salary, refunds, or rewards – the factors that consumers value the most were found to be speed, choice, and convenience. Respondent consumers scored different factors out of 5, and choice emerged as the most important one, with an average rating of 4.6. Speed was second with 4.23 and convenience third with 4.21. However, as several brands stay limited to legacy payment methods like checks, Onbe found that there’s a misalignment between the experiences consumers desire and the kind they’re actually having.

What sort of disbursements did Americans receive the most from companies in 2021?

  • Payments for work (including paychecks, gig payments, sales commissions): 74%
  • Refunds (including expense reimbursements, deposit return payments): 46%
  • Rewards (including rebates, incentive payments, loyalty rewards): 41%
  • Recurring government payments (including disability, unemployment funds): 39%

What were the most common ways of receiving a disbursement?

  • 74% of the respondents reported direct deposit.
  • 51% of the respondents reported checks.

If companies were to switch to a digital disbursement platform, they can offer customers their choice of modality — from traditional methods to instant, virtual prepaid card, push pay, and the like — along with the option to spend via any channel.

Generation after generation embracing crypto

While crypto adoption is highest among younger generations, Onbe found older generations are also gradually picking up interest in digital assets. Around 46% of all respondents said they own or plan to own crypto in 2022, as against 5% in 2020.

Let’s review the breakdown of interest in crypto in terms of demographics. Among the survey respondents:

  • 56% of those aged between 18-24 years own crypto already or plan to own it in 2022.
  • 60% of those aged between 25-34 years own crypto already or plan to own it in 2022.
  • 59% of those aged between 35-44 years own crypto already or plan to own it in 2022.
  • 47% of those aged between 45-54 years own crypto already or plan to own it in 2022.
  • 31% of those aged between 55-64 years own crypto already or plan to own it in 2022.
  • 14% of those 65+ years in age own crypto already or plan to own it in 2022.

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