Digital wallets have grown in popularity as consumers have become accustomed to the convenience and flexibility of contactless payments. Forbes recently reported that 53% of consumers now use digital wallets more often than traditional payment methods.  

Despite their growing popularity, many billers don’t offer digital wallet payments. This has created a gap between consumer preferences and the payment experience their billers offer.  

PayNearMe recently conducted a consumer survey to determine how important convenience and hyper-personalization are to consumers during the loan payment process. The research revealed that borrowers are increasingly gravitating toward digital wallets as a loan payment option, while their tolerance for friction is decreasing.  

What we learned confirms a clear preference: consumers want to pay bills with wallets, and billers are missing an opportunity to attract and retain customers. 

Consumer trends: alternative payments 

An important part of making payment easier for consumers—ultimately driving on-time payments—is offering the payment types they use in other areas of their lives. Today, that includes digital wallets. In the aforementioned consumer survey, when asked which alternative payment methods are important to them when paying loans online 44% of respondents said Venmo, 55% said PayPal and 43% said Cash App Pay. 

These digital wallets have seen remarkable growth in preference since a previous report published by PayNearMe in 2021. Since then, survey respondents noted significant increases in preference for “the big three” as a loan payment option: 

  • Venmo (27% in 2021 – a 63% increase) 

  • PayPal (43% in 2021 – a 26% increase) 

  • Cash App (22% in 2021 – a 95% increase) 

This increase highlights a strong shift toward these platforms, indicating a competitive landscape where digital wallets are becoming integral to how people manage payments. 

Generational adoption of digital wallets 

The survey also revealed a clear trend of increasing desire for alternative payments across all age groups. Most notably was an increased preference for digital wallets as a payment option for the 45-60 year old age range from the 2021 report.  

PayNearMe consumer survey data


The data clearly defies the stereotype that digital wallets are predominantly used by younger consumers. This should serve as an incentive to billers to appeal to all of their customers by offering the payment types they desire. 

Income diversification

Digital wallets can also promote financial inclusion and are popular with unbanked consumers. In fact, 64% of unbanked individuals use mobile wallets to make bill payments, and nearly 8% of Americans consider PayPal as their primary checking account.   

That said, the desire for alternative payment methods expands beyond the unbanked and is also prominent across various income levels, with higher adoption rates generally seen in higher income brackets. For example, respondents with an income between $150,000 and $174,999 prefer Venmo (71%), PayPal (77%) and Cash App (66%). This diversification suggests that comfort with digital payments transcends economic status, making it a universal trend. 

Overall, what we’re seeing is that digital wallets have become pervasive across age and income ranges and are an important way to empower customers to self-serve and make on-time payments.  

The business impact of meeting consumer payment preferences

For billers, there are several business benefits to incorporating digital wallets into their payment stack. Beyond simply meeting consumer preferences, offering digital wallets allows billers to: 

  • Tap into additional consumer funding sources that may be stored in the wallet.  

  • Increase acceptance rates by accessing funds that are available immediately and often considered “good funds.” 

  • Increase security and lower user input errors with the built-in pre-authorization and pre-authentication that’s built into the mobile wallet payment process. 

  • Reduce delinquency by opening more payment options to help customers pay on-time. 

  • Offer more inclusive options for unbanked and underbanked individuals.  

The survey also revealed that when consumers are unhappy with the loan payment experience—which includes payment choice—they respond in a big way. Of those surveyed, 79% would be likely to use the same lender if they have an exceptional loan repayment experience. Meanwhile, 82% said they would jump to another lender in the future if they had a poor loan repayment experience.  

Move into the future

It’s clear consumers have high expectations when it comes to their payment experience, and businesses risk losing customers altogether if they aren’t rising to meet those expectations.  

Legacy platforms aren’t going to meet the needs of billers who want to dynamically add payment types and channels as consumer preferences evolve. To stay competitive and relevant, billers should consider partnering with a payments platform provider that enables them to accept all major forms of payment including popular digital wallets such as Cash App, PayPal, Venmo, Apple Pay and Google Pay. 

To review the full, data-packed consumer research report, click here to download your copy.


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