Convenience trumps security as main driver behind consumer payment needs in 2019

PSCU releases second annual Eye on Payments study focusing on shifts in consumer payment preferences

ST. PETERSBURG, FL (October 17, 2019)PSCU has announced the release of its annual Eye on Payments study. For the second year in a row, the nation’s premier payments CUSO set out to explore payment preferences among credit union members and other financial institution customers (“non-members”) and how they have shifted over the past year. Through this research, PSCU aims to gain a better understanding of the factors that influence consumers when it comes to their choice and usage of different payment methods, how these factors may vary among different life stages and how credit unions can better meet these preferences and needs.

As reported in the inaugural Eye on Payments study, when making purchasing decisions in 2018, consumers were most motivated by two primary needs: convenience and safety. This year, the study revealed consumers’ needs have shifted. Convenience and ease of use trumped security in 2019 and were reported as the main drivers behind a consumer’s choice in payment method.

“This year’s Eye on Payments study revealed insightful findings on how and where consumers are making payments right now,” said Tom Pierce, Chief Marketing Officer at PSCU. “With the continued proliferation of goods and services available online, convenience emerged as the main driver of consumer payment preferences this year, even trumping security. We also saw an increased preference for debit cards to complete transactions, including for online channels and in-app payments, as consumers across generations appear to be selecting budget-friendly options over building up their credit card debt.”

Key findings from the study include:

  • Sixty percent of respondents reported convenience and ease of use as the main drivers behind their choice in payment method for both credit and debit cards.
  • While convenience and ease of use were ranked as most important, security and safety are still influential factors. Nearly four in 10 consumers agree they make decisions about how to pay for something based in part on which is the most secure.
  • Consumer preference has gravitated from credit to debit since last year. Survey results in 2018 indicated a slight preference toward credit (44%). In 2019, the preferred tender for both credit union members and non-members was debit (45%). Debit cards were preferred across all generations, at the majority of purchase locations and in most retail situations.
  • Nearly 96% of all survey respondents report making online purchases at least a few times per year, with 57% of credit union members and non-members making an online purchase at least a few times per month. Overall, respondents prefer to pay for online purchases, order-ahead food and streaming services with a debit card.
  • Mobile wallet usage is on the rise, with three out of every 10 survey respondents reporting they use a mobile wallet to make purchases and nearly half using their mobile phones to make payments or do banking. Mobile wallet usage is even higher among the younger generations: Six in 10 Gen Z and Millennials report using a mobile wallet, with almost half using the technology at least a few times per month.
  • Despite the early stages of contactless card issuance by financial institutions, about one-fourth of respondents have a contactless card and use it at least a few times per month. Of those that have and use a contactless card, convenience, ease/speed of use and security are the primary motivators for doing so, while the primary reason consumers do not use their contactless card is due to lack of acceptance at stores they frequent.

“Consumer preferences, expectations and demands are constantly changing and shifting,” said Pierce. “Through research gathered in Eye on Payments, our goal is to arm credit unions with the information they need to keep a pulse on and remain close to their members so they can be nimble in evolving their payments strategies to drive member experience and growth.”

PSCU surveyed more than 1,750 credit union members and non-members from across the United States. The online survey, which took place in July and August 2019, was taken by participants ages 18 to 65+. Of those surveyed, 50% were male and 50% were female, and demographic characteristics of those surveyed align with consumer data from CUNA’s 2019 Member Profile.

The 2019 Eye on Payments white paper is available for download on the PSCU website.

About PSCU

PSCU/Co-op Solutions is the nation’s premier payments credit union service organization (CUSO) and an integrated financial technology solutions provider. With over four decades of industry experience and a commitment to service excellence and innovation, the company serves more than 4,000 financial institutions throughout North America. PSCU/Co-op Solutions leverages its expertise and resources on behalf of credit unions and their members, offering an end-to-end product portfolio that includes payment processing, fraud and risk management, data and analytics, digital banking, instant payments, strategic consulting, collections, ATM and POS networks, shared branching and 24/7/365 member support via its contact centers. For more information, visit and


Bill Prichard, APR, Director, Public Relations
PSCU/Co-op Solutions
(909) 532-9416 or

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