Survey: Mobile payment apps, cryptocurrency grow in popularity

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
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Most consumers are using mobile payment apps.

An increasing number of consumers are using mobile payment apps and owning cryptocurrency.

According to a new survey of U.S. consumers from software and payments company Cantaloupe Inc., adoption and usage of mobile payment apps are growing. Only 14 percent of respondents reported not having used a mobile payment app in the past year. Paypal was the most popular payment app, with 72% of respondents saying they had used it in the last year, compared to Cash App (32%), Venmo (26%), Google Pay (21%), Zelle (20%), and Apple Pay (19%).

While about the same percentage of respondents making more or less than $100,000 annually prefer Paypal overall (72% and 75% respectively), 24% of respondents making less than $100,000 use Venmo, compared to 35% of those making more. By comparison, 33% of those making less than $100,000 use Cash App, compared to 28% of those making more.

The survey reveals Cash App is the second most popular payment app to Paypal for younger generations, with 49% of respondents between 18-34 using it, compared to 38% who use Venmo, the third most popular.

The study also examined trends in cryptocurrency, finding that more than one-third of respondents between the ages of 18-54 own cryptocurrency, with people ages 18-34 most likely to own it (37%), and individuals 35-54 (33%) trailing only slightly. Furthermore, 67% of those who own cryptocurrency are willing to consider using it for purchases if it were linked to a mobile wallet, with an additional 19% saying they would consider using cryptocurrency linked to a mobile wallet if it were easy. 

Cryptocurrency ownership is revealed to skews toward affluent consumers, with 41% of respondents who earn more than $100,000 a year owning cryptocurrency, compared to 24% of those who earn less. Only 46% of respondents over the age of 55 would use cryptocurrency linked to a mobile wallet, compared to 68% of those ages 35-54, and 70% of those 18-34.

[Read more: Accepting bitcoin payment: Three X factors to consider]

“With the popularity and ownership of cryptocurrency growing, it is critical that retailers find ways to accept this new form of payment, and the easiest way may be through mobile wallets,” said Sean Feeney, CEO of Cantaloupe, Inc. “It’s not hard to imagine a world where cryptocurrency is being used to make everyday purchases using a mobile phone, whether that is at a vending machine, in a store or online. Our research shows that the needle is moving quickly, consumers are more comfortable paying with mobile apps than ever before, and it’s time for the retail industry to be ready to meet expectations of consumers who prefer crypto for payment, and begin to accept it.”

Cantaloupe’s findings are based on the results of a U.S. consumer survey by CITE Research which targeted samples of more than 2,000 Census-based U.S. adults each balanced by gender, geography and age group, fielded from June 1-8, 2021.