Sixty percent of consumers make at least one payment per month with a laptop or desktop computer, according to a survey commissioned by Fiserv.
Calling the volume of digital payments a "critical mass," Fiserv also reports 30% have made a payment via their mobile phone and 22% on a tablet. Sentient Decision Science conducted the survey of 2,533 U.S. consumers in May 2013 on behalf of Fiserv.
Despite the penetration of digital payments, person-to-person payments are still largely paper-based in the U.S., Fiserv says. While 88% of consumers have sent money to another person in the past 12 months, 56% used cash, 41% used paper checks and 31% used an online method such as a bank-based service or PayPal. The most common way to exchange funds is giving cash in person cash accounted for 33% of all person-to-person payments, Fiserv says.
While these numbers would appear to be discouraging for Fiserv, which is expanding its Popmoney P2P transfer service to mobile, some survey responses suggested an appetite for digital person-to-person payments. Nearly a third of respondents reported they never have enough cash on hand to pay someone back; for 18 to 24 year olds, that figure rises to 39%. And 79% said they would be open to using a digital person-to-person payment service from their bank, Fiserv says.
Among respondents who made person-to-person payments, people most often sent money in the past year to friends (41%), children (41%), parents (37%) or other family members (42%). Among respondents with children, 63% said they had sent money to their children in the last year, with parents aged 45 or older most likely to have done so. And the exchange of money between parents and children is not a one way street56% percent of Gen Y respondents and 35% of Gen X respondents said they sent money to their parents within the past year, according to Fiserv.
Splitting bill payments is the norm among U.S. households, with one person paying the bills and others reimbursing the payer. Forty-six percent say someone in their household pays the bills and others pay them back for all or a portion of the costs, 22% reported using a joint bank account and 14% said one person pays some of the bills while another person pays the rest. The number of married couples paying each other back for bill payments is significantly higher among younger generations, with 64% of married 18 to 24 year olds and 57% of married 25 to 34 year olds taking this approach. People are also uncomfortable requesting money owed to them, so much so that nearly 50% have let people not pay them back because they didn't want to ask, Fiserv reports.
"People's social payment needs seem to be becoming more complicated, with the need to clear expenses between members of a household, and even between married couples who are likely to be managing more than one bank account," says Tom Roberts, senior vice president of marketing for electronic payments at Fiserv, in a release. "Even if younger couples do have a joint account, they are paying each other in order to pay the bills."