Fifth Annual PSCU Report Reveals Consumers Demand Choice and Variety

2022 Eye on Payments focuses on evolving payment preferences and behaviors amid economic uncertainty

PSCU

St. Petersburg, Fla. — (Oct. 12, 2022)PSCU, the nation’s premier payments credit union service organization (CUSO), has announced the release of its 2022 Eye on Payments study. For the fifth year in a row, PSCU set out to gauge payment preferences among credit union members and other financial institution customers (“non-members”). This year’s study focuses not only on how preferences and behaviors have changed over the past 12 months, but also since the first report was released in 2018.


“Five years ago, PSCU made a commitment to invest in surveying consumers to better understand the factors that influence their choice and usage of different payment methods, with an ultimate goal of arming credit unions with the information they need to best serve their members – and we are proud to say we have delivered on this promise,” said Chuck Fagan, president and CEO of PSCU. “As we have seen since the inaugural study, consumer preferences are constantly shifting in response to economic and social events – whether that be the COVID-19 pandemic or an uncertain economic outlook, among other factors. We are extremely pleased to share our fifth annual survey findings and look forward to continuing to provide the information, resources and tools to help credit unions plan their strategies, drive growth and make data-informed decisions to improve the experience of their members.”


PSCU’s 2022 Eye on Payments study found choice and variety have emerged as important factors driving consumer preferences and behavior amid economic uncertainty. Nearly nine out of 10 respondents (87%) agree they are worried about the economic outlook, while three-quarters (74%) also report they are concerned about their personal finances. At the same time, a majority of consumers (61%) said they are using a greater variety of payment methods than they did a few years ago.


This desire for variety is further evident in how consumers intend to pay: When asked how likely they are to use a particular payment method in the next six months to pay for goods and services, more than 75% said they planned to use at least one of the methods most readily available – debit (88%), credit (76%) and cash (88%). But consumers aren't just reaching for their traditional wallets: over half plan to use a digital payment solution like Venmo in the next six months and approximately four in 10 expect to use their mobile wallet or store-specific mobile payment app to pay for goods and services.


“It should come as no surprise that the economy has been top of mind for consumers throughout 2022 – and, for many, having the option to choose the product, service or offering that fits their needs makes them feel more in control,” said Tom Pierce, chief marketing officer at PSCU. “At a time when unprecedented events are impacting the economy and, in turn, personal finances, it makes sense that choice and variety are also influencing how consumers are making purchases and transacting.”


Other key findings from the study include:


  • For the fourth year in a row, debit remains the overall preferred way to pay, with credit union members favoring debit cards (46%) slightly more than non-members (42%). That said, there is a discrepancy emerging between what members are reporting as their preferred payment method compared to what they are actually using, as evidenced by data from the monthly PSCU Payments Index. When asked what payment method they are most likely to use in the next six months, nearly the same percentage reported they would turn to credit (76%) as debit (80%).

  • Potentially driven by the economy, income level influences preference between credit and debit. Respondents with a below average annual household income have a strong preference toward debit, while credit is preferred by respondents with an average or above average household income.

  • Use of digital payments solutions, including Venmo, Zelle and PayPal, among others, is on the rise: 59% of all respondents reported using digital payment methods at least periodically – a 40% increase from 2019 – with one in 10 citing it as their primary payment method.

  • From 2019 to 2022, there was a 35% increase in respondents that reported using a mobile wallet in the past 60 days to pay for something in a physical store.

  • Additionally, those reporting they use a contactless card a few times per week has increased by 53% since 2020, indicating that some behavioral shifts brought on by the pandemic are here to stay.

  • Twenty percent (20%) of all respondents applied for a new credit card within the last 12 months. Of those who applied, 75% received approval or denial in real time and nearly 90% of respondents who received a real-time response were at least somewhat satisfied with the process.

  • Respondents continued to report interest in cryptocurrency, but only 19% of all respondents have actually invested in or hold crypto.

  • Most respondents (78%) have not engaged in a metaverse experience in the last year but, of those who have, 73% purchased, monetized or sold real or virtual products or services.


In addition to taking a more in-depth look at these key findings, the study also analyzes how and why payment method preferences differ among generations, as well as key takeaways credit unions can implement to better fulfill member payment preferences and needs in key opportunity areas.

PSCU surveyed more than 1,750 credit union members and non-members from across the U.S. The online survey, conducted in June and July 2022, was taken by participants ages 18 to 65+. Of those surveyed, 44% were male and 56% were female, and demographic characteristics of those surveyed align with consumer data from CUNA’s Member Profile.


The 2022 Eye on Payments white paper is available for download on the PSCU website.


About PSCU

PSCU, the nation’s premier payments CUSO, supports the success of 1,900 credit unions representing nearly 7 billion transactions annually. Committed to service excellence and focused on innovation, PSCU’s payment processing, risk management, data and analytics, loyalty programs, digital banking, marketing, strategic consulting and mobile platforms help deliver possibilities and seamless member experiences. Comprehensive, 24/7/365-member support is provided by contact centers located throughout the United States. The origin of PSCU’s model is collaboration and scale, and the company has leveraged its influence on behalf of credit unions and their members for more than 40 years. Today, PSCU provides an end-to-end, competitive advantage that enables credit unions to securely grow and meet evolving consumer demands. For more information, visit pscu.com.