How Consumer Payment Preferences Are Shaping Commerce

Friday, December 13th, 2019

In the beginning, the way goods and services were purchased was slow to evolve. It began with bartering and trading and then later with the use of currency such as coins and papers. For a long time, paper money was the way everyone paid for anything. With the invention of credit cards and debit cards, however, change was on the horizon.

Nowadays, there are more ways than ever to complete transactions, including touchless payments through smartphones, digital currencies like Bitcoin and e-wallets. Knowing your customers’ payment preferences and being able to offer them the options can give you a leg up on the competition.

Credit and Debit Purchases

Credit and debit purchases still make up a bulk of transactions and are generally preferred to cash by most consumers. In fact, a survey from Socratic Consumer Survey showed that 64% of consumers believed that they could go an entire month without the use of cash. Offering credit and debit card payment options is no longer a matter of choice as it is of necessity.

Credit cards are preferred by a majority of consumers for high-priced items, such as purchasing plane tickets or jewelry. Other than the benefit of being able to pay back purchases later, consumers opt for credit cards that provide rewards or points. You can utilize this for your business by putting a rewards program into place for loyal customers.

Men seem to prefer credit cards over debit cards and prioritize the use of credit cards that offer points or other rewards, while women are more likely to use credit in instances of emergencies. Overall, Millenials specifically prefer debit cards over all other payment types.

Debit cards are more preferred for buying everyday items, such as groceries. Some brands make debit card usage competitive with credit cards by offering similar incentives. 

While credit and debit cards are an obvious option to provide, you should consider alternative payment options for your business as well.

Payment Alternatives

Mobile payments are gaining usage among most generations, with Gen Xers leading the way. In fact, Gen Xers are often early users for alternative payment options such as wearables and voice-activated devices.

If your business targets people in this age group, staying on the cutting edge of payment alternatives is paramount in attracting your desired clientele. 

Other alternative payments include digital currency, e-wallets, direct bank transfers, and apps. These methods of alternative payments can streamline your checkout process and increase brand loyalty as new generations of shoppers start entering the market.

Providing Payment Options

As a business, your primary goal should be to simplify and streamline the checkout process. Younger generations, in particular, are adopting a more independent style of conducting transactions. Not only does this save you money by reducing the need for additional employees, but it also makes transactions happen faster.

While cash is still used for purchases, credit and debit card use has taken the lead and payment alternatives are popping up at an exponential rate. Knowing what your customers prefer will help you best serve their needs.

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