Payment Apps Are a Vital Part of Everyday Life for Millions of Americans

Payment Apps Are a Vital Part of Everyday Life for Millions of Americans
  • Two in three Americans (66%) use payment apps or have used them in the past
  • Usage is common across all ages, urban and rural populations, Democrats and Republicans, and across race and ethnicities – including higher adoption within minority communities such as African American / Blacks and Hispanic / Latino
  • Usage is particularly strong among Americans who are “financially at risk” and 79% agree that payment apps are a “vital tool” used to manage finances

Two in three Americans (66%) use payment apps or have used them in the past, according to a new survey conducted by PSB on behalf of Financial Innovation Now, a public policy coalition comprised of Amazon, Apple, Google, Intuit, PayPal, Square, and Stripe. The survey, released , shows that four in five (83%) agree that “payment apps created by technology companies help address consumer needs that are unfulfilled by traditional financial institutions.”

“Technology companies are leading the way with innovative payment apps that are a vital part of everyday life for millions of Americans, especially the underserved,” said Brian Peters, Executive Director, Financial Innovation Now. “Millions of Americans rely on fast and innovative payment apps to make their life better and easier every day, and consumers trust technology companies to build and deploy the most advanced measures to protect their customers.”

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Payment app usage – current or in the past – spans many key demographics: age, race, as well as geography, and political affiliation:

  • Though younger Americans are more likely to use payment apps (for example, 83% of those 18-24 and 81% of those age 25-34), usage is pervasive among older Americans as well. 76% of Americans ages 35-49, and 57% of those ages 50-64 have used payment apps, and 42% of those age of 65 or older have used payment apps
  • As it relates to race and ethnicity, payment apps have been used by 62% of Whites / Caucasians and usage is even higher within minority communities such as Blacks / African Americans (75%) and Hispanics / Latinos (80%)
  • Payment app usage is high regardless of where people live, evident by similar usage from those who live in the suburbs (64%) and in urban settings (70%), as well as those in rural communities (64%)
  • Politics today often draws Americans apart – but not when it comes to using payments apps: 71% of Democrats, 63% of Republicans, and 65% of Independents use payment apps.

Payment apps aren’t just for bill sharing; Americans indicate they are a vital tool to manage finances and pay essential transactions such as rent and utilities:

  • 73% of Americans say payment apps are “a vital tool that people use to manage their finances,” including 30% who “strongly agree”
  • 3 in 4 users (74%) have used payment apps to send money to family members
  • 1 in 3 users – and half of users under age 35 – have used payment apps to pay their rent (33% and 49%, respectively); in addition, over half (52%) have used one to pay their utilities and/or other household bills

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Payment apps are especially important to millions of Americans financially at risk:

  • Usage is noticeably strong (68%) among Americans who are financially at risk, such as the one in eight Americans (12%) who say they are “not at all confident” in their households’ ability to pay an unexpected $500 expense such as from an illness or accident
  • In fact, among these financially at-risk Americans, 79% agree payment apps are “a vital tool people use to manage their finances” and 77% say restricting payment apps would “disrupt people’s lives and make it more difficult […] to perform basic financial activities”
  • Those who are financially at-risk are much more likely to have lower incomes (52% have an annual household income at less than $25,000) and are 3x more likely to be unbanked or underbanked (15% have neither a debit nor credit card, compared to 6% of all adults)

Americans agree that tech companies are fulfilling unmet needs not currently addressed by traditional financial institutions:

  • Four in five Americans (83%) agree that “payment apps created by technology companies help address consumer needs that are unfulfilled by traditional financial institutions
  • Americans are 6x more likely to associate innovation with technology companies rather than financial institutions (“innovative”: 73% vs. 12%)
  • Speed is also a major perceived strength of technology companies: 58% of Americans associate “fast” with technology companies over financial institutions (23%)
  • Innovation and speed are key elements of security, and 83% of Americans agree “technology companies are dedicated to building and using the most advanced measures to protect their customers”

Overwhelming majorities of Americans support more integration of tech and finance:

  • 9 in 10 Americans (89%) agree that “consumers benefit when technology companies and financial institutions work together,” including 43% who “strongly agree”

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