Blackhawk: Mobile Wallets Gain as Cash and Check Usage Falls
A Blackhawk Network study finds that more consumers (44 percent) are buying gift cards for themselves, most consumers are familiar with digital gift cards and other innovative payment methods are catching steam, while checks and even cash are declining.
The research, “How America Pays in 2016,” stems from 1,037 surveys of U.S. adults conducted in March. It found that 19 percent of consumers have used a gift card exchange, and 6 percent of consumers have used peer-to-peer payments via smartphones—both evidence, Blackhawk said, of consumer demand driving payments innovation.
Checks, meanwhile, continue their slow slog to the ash heap of payments history: 60 percent of respondents report using checks within the previous year, down from 68 percent in the 2015 survey. Paying bills (23 percent) and paying other people (18 percent) stand as the primary reasons consumers use checks. Cash, too, is suffering a popularity decline: 87 percent of consumer report using cash within the previous year, down from 93 percent from the last report. And those cash transactions are small, most for $20 or less, according to Blackhawk.
So what about the new kids in payments? Seventeen percent of respondents report using mobile wallets, up eight percentage points from the last survey, while 5 percent have used peer-to-peer payments and 3 percent have used bitcoin within the year prior to the survey. Other payment methods include:
- Debit card: 75 percent
- Credit card: 69 percent
- PayPal: 67 percent
- Merchant-specific gift card: 43 percent
- Prepaid debit card: 38 percent
- Money transfer: 18 percent
Blackhawk also found that 69 percent of consumers are familiar with e-codes and e-gifts—that is, digital gift cards delivered to recipients via email, social media or text message, and discounted codes that can be purchased from sites like Groupon.
“The role of payments in Americans’ lives is increasing in importance,” said David Tate, senior vice president of products and marketing at Blackhawk Network. “Consumers now have so many payment tools at their disposal; they can be selective about how they pay, and are even influenced on where to shop based on their experiences paying.”