Throughout 2022, the economy has been top of mind for consumers. According to PSCU’s 2022 Eye on Payments study, nearly nine out of 10 respondents — both credit union and non-credit union members — agreed they were worried about the economic outlook, while three-quarters also reported they were concerned about their personal finances.
In the face of economic uncertainty, one trend has emerged that is driving consumer payments preferences and behaviors: Consumers want — and expect — choice and variety when it comes to making payments and transacting.
For many, having the option to choose the product, service, or offering that fits their needs at a particular time makes them feel more in control. And, at a time when unpredictable events are impacting the economy and, in turn, personal finances, it makes sense that choice and variety are also influencing how consumers are making payments, shopping, and interacting with their financial institution.
A majority of consumers (61%) in this year’s Eye on Payments said they are using a greater variety of payment methods than they did a few years ago. In addition, 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%).
Consumers aren’t just reaching for their traditional wallets. More than half plan to use a digital payment solution, like Venmo or PayPal, 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. In addition, nearly one-third of respondents have both a debit and credit card loaded into their mobile wallet, up from 25% in 2021, further illustrating the importance of flexibility when it comes to payment choice.
When asked how they prefer to make a transaction at the point of sale with a credit or debit card, consumers want the flexibility to choose: 56% report they prefer to insert an EMV chip and 35% report they prefer tap-and-go technology. Additionally, as more consumers shop online, they are choosing both debit and credit cards to pay for online purchases, with 40% reporting they typically use credit and 34% reporting they typically turn to debit, consistent with data from 2021.
In line with these findings, a 2022 study by Deloitte on shopping preferences and trends summed it up nicely: “Consumers are not interested in a one-size-fits-all shopping experience. They want choices, both online and offline, that allow them to tailor their shopping experience to best match their needs.”
As consumers seek variety and choice, it is no longer enough for credit unions to focus on share of wallet. Today, they must also fight for share of mind — as where share of mind goes, so does share of wallet. Members expect the highest level of service and variety of offerings, and they want different channels in which to make purchases, transact, and interact with their credit union, among other activities. Credit unions must make an effort to understand what types of payments offerings and services are of interest to their current membership base as well as to potential members they hope to attract.
In addition, more and more consumers are turning to fintechs or neobanks for their everyday payments needs, which means losing out on share of mind and wallet is a huge risk for credit unions. It is more important than ever to meet members where they are while also providing an exceptional experience in the channels of their choice.
In his role as SVP, Chief Marketing Officer, Tom Pierce is responsible for leading and executing PSCU’s marketing and communications strategy. Pierce has successfully led marketing teams for more than 30 years, with the latter half of his career spent in the payments industry. Prior to joining PSCU, Pierce served as Chief Marketing Officer for Cardtronics, a global ATM organization serving the retail and financial services industries, where he directed a global marketing team in the development and execution of strategic marketing and communications initiatives.