PayPal still has a big lead over banks’ digital payment offerings, despite the many advances banks have made in recent years, a new study suggests.
PayPal is the most widely recognized online checkout service, with 77% of consumers familiar with its brand and using it to make online purchases, according to a study of 800 U.S. credit card customers Auriemma Consulting Group recently conducted. That compares with 41% who were familiar with Visa Checkout and 25% each for Masterpass and Amex Express Checkout.
San Jose, Calif.-based PayPal is the preferred approach for online purchases in general among 81% of respondents, and the company’s P-to-P service also beat out other brands, with 42% of respondents preferring PayPal compared with 19% who said they preferred to use their bank’s P-to-P service, Auriemma said in an Oct. 31 press release.
PayPal’s comfortable lead isn’t surprising, given its long head start for years as a dominant checkout option on U.S. merchants’ websites and its heritage as the top P-to-P approach used by consumers in the early days of eBay, which owned PayPal from 2002 until 2015 (PayPal was founded in 1998).
“PayPal is the clear favorite in the online checkout space and they have earned a positive reputation with consumers,” said Jaclyn Holmes, a senior manager at Auriemma, who conducted the study in August 2016.
Consumer habit is working in PayPal's favor, according to Holmes. "We asked respondents why they were uninterested in using other online checkout services, and across the board, the top reason was that they were satisfied with their current options," she said.
But PayPal could lose some of its branding advantage in the wake of agreements Visa and Mastercard recently struck with the alternative payment provider. As part of these agreements, PayPal promised to make the card networks’ brands a clearer choice for consumers funding PayPal accounts. Previously, PayPal favored the cheaper ACH funding option.
In the P-to-P realm, the nation’s largest banks are preparing to relaunch their P-to-P services under a single brand—Zelle—with a unified approach that replaces their splintered offerings.
Banks already have plenty to build on, because consumers tend to trust banks more than PayPal. Eighty-one percent of consumers in Auriemma’s latest study said they trust their bank, compared with 55% who said they trust PayPal.
More than half, or 56% of consumers, said they are “generally unwilling” to assign funds to PayPal for direct deposit, Auriemma said in the release.
PayPal still has one up on banks when it comes to security: 69% of consumers said they believe PayPal’s technology is better than their bank’s at protecting individuals’ financial information, Auriemma added.