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Digital Payments Hit Critical Mass: Survey
BROOKFIELD, Mass. (10/21/13)--Digital payments have hit critical mass, with 60% of consumers surveyed making a payment at least once a month using a laptop or desktop computer,  30% paying via their mobile phone and 22% through their tablet.
The 2013 "How Americans Pay Each Other" national survey of 2,500 Americans, which evaluated person-to-person (P2P) payments or social payments, was conducted by Fiserv Inc. The Brookfield, Wis., financial services technology solutions provider has a social payment service called Popmoney.
The survey has implications for credit unions. Although P2P payments typically use cash and checks, a key finding was that most respondents were interested in a digital payment option from their financial institution. That would be another opportunity for credit unions to step in with solutions to consumers needs.
Eighty-eight percent of U.S. consumers surveyed sent money to someone else in the past 12 months. Of those, 56% used cash; 41%, a check; and 31%, an online method such as a bank-based P2P payment service or PayPal. 
The single most common way to exchange funds was giving cash in person (33% did so).  However, nearly one-third said they never have enough cash on hand to pay someone back. That number rose to 39% among 18- to 24-year-olds.
Of those surveyed, 79% said they would be open to using a digital P2P payment service from their financial institution.
"While digital payments are not common for things such as paying bills, there has not really been a practical way to send money to another person electronically," said Tom Roberts, senior vice president of marketing, electronic payments, at Fiserv.  "Services like Popmoney, which allows users to send or receive money using an e-mail address or mobile number, are changing that. Just as the ways people communicate with each other have become more digital, their payments to each other are becoming more digital as well."
Other key findings:
  • People most often gave or sent money to friends and family members, but age and gender play a role in who receives the payment and how the payment is sent. Roughly 41% gave money in the past year to friends, 41% to children, 36% to parents and 42% to other family members. Younger consumers were significantly more likely to give or send money to friends.
  • The money exchange between parents and children isn't a one-way street:  56% of Gen Y respondents and 35% of Gen X respondents said they have given or sent money to their parents in the past year. Women gave to their children, while men were more likely to give to friends, significant others, co-workers or roommates.
  • Splitting bill payments is the norm among U.S. households, with 46% reporting that one person pays the bills and others pay them back for all or part of the costs. Of those, 22% reported using a joint bank and 14% said one person pays some bills while another person pays the rest. Sixty-nine percent of those who share bill-payment responsibilities with a friend or roommate have one person pay the bills while others pay their share to that person, and 42% of married couples do the same. The number of married couples paying each other for bill payments was significantly higher among younger generations (64% among 18-24-year-olds and 57% of 25-34-year-olds).
  • People are uncomfortable requesting money owed to them. Nearly 50% said they have let people not pay them back because they didn't want to ask.

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