Study: Digital, mobile payments gain ground with US consumers

American consumers are tapping a wide variety of retail payment options these days, and digital and mobile are gaining ground, although shoppers are still pretty tethered to using cash, debit and prepaid card, reveals new research.

An April 2015 survey of 1,000 American adults found that 93 percent used cash, 68 percent used debit cards and checks, 67 percent used credit cards and 62 percent used PayPal for payments, according to the latest Blackhawk Network Shopper study,  “How America Pays in 2015: Traditional, Digital and Mobile Convergence in Payments.”

“Consumers still have a strong preference for traditional payment methods like debit cards and prepaid cards. Those payments tools are not going away anytime soon, even as interest in and usage of new payment methods grows,” said Teri Llach, chief marketing officer at Blackhawk Network, in an announcement about the study. “Our findings prove that payments is not either/or when it comes to legacy payments versus emerging products; it’s really about convenience and providing a mix of options.”

The study revealed that 48 percent used retailer gift cards, 45 percent used Visa or MasterCard gift cards, 33 percent used prepaid debit cards and 14 percent made mobile payments on smartphones or tablets.

The biggest decline, compared to last year, was in cash and checks, but gift card popularity is growing as 87 percent polled view merchant-specific cards as more convenient to use over bank debit cards.

At this point, mobile wallet technology is being used by 25 percent of U.S. smartphone owners.

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