Report: 80% of US shoppers use buy now, pay later to avoid credit card debt


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Dive Brief:

  • Following previous reports of increased digital payment adoption, the Experian Global Insights Report found that 62% of respondents said they use mobile wallets, and 63% use traditional forms of payment, the credit reporting agency announced on Thursday.
  • More than half of survey respondents (53%) said they have spent more online in the past three months, and half said they are likely to increase their spend online in the next three months.
  • Fifty-seven percent of respondents said using buy now, pay later services could replace their credit card. But only 18% of respondents said they used by now, pay later services in the past six months. Eighty percent of U.S. consumers said they use digital installment payment services to avoid credit card debt.

Dive Insight:

Experian’s international survey of 6,000 consumers and 2,000 businesses suggests that offering a range of efficient payment options is critical for attracting customers. The report found that most respondents (81%) said a positive digital experience gives them a more favorable view of the brand than a physical store experience.

However, 23% of respondents said their expectations for digital experiences were met only somewhat or not at all, down from 30% of consumers who said the same thing in 2021, per Experian’s research.

“Results from our latest survey reveal that many consumers are more concerned now about the security of their online transactions and activities than they were a year ago, with regional differences in the nature of their primary concerns,” David Bernard, Experian’s executive vice president of strategy and operations for global decision analytics, said in a statement. “The past two years have given way to a digitally savvy consumer, who [has] a growing awareness and understanding of advanced, frictionless security methods. Consumers seek to make their work and lives easier and safer.”

Experian’s report follows other research indicating that the digital payment industry is growing. According to a Finaria report released last year, the mobile wallet industry is expected to reach $3.5 trillion in value by 2023, and the average transaction value could rise by 22% to $2,051. Plus, 2021 research from PayPal and BigCommerce found that more than a third (35.2%) of survey respondents said they preferred to use digital wallets, up from 28.3% before March 2020.

With more consumers seeking contactless payments during the pandemic, the shipments of mobile point-of-sale terminals are anticipated to rise 56% worldwide, totaling 32 million units, by 2026, according to Juniper Research.

In response to the uptick in digital payment demand, more businesses are counting on offering multiple payment options to please their customers. A Visa survey released in January 2022 found that 82% of small and micro businesses will accept digital payment options this year. Visa also found that about three-quarters of small business respondents said accepting digital payments is critical to their growth in 2022.

Consumers turning to BNPL services to avoid credit card debt is not surprising, given that both millennial and Gen Z shoppers have complicated relationships with credit cards. However, researchers are raising concerns about installment payment services saddling people with more debt, and critics have urged regulators to scrutinize the industry and protect consumers.


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