Consumers continue to view their banks as a trusted payments provider, but they view PayPal Inc. as the nonbank to trust the most.
Among Facebook, Apple, Google, Amazon and PayPal, the eBay unit gained the most consumer trust in the past year, according to a Javelin Strategy and Research report.
Javelin surveyed nearly 10,000 consumers this year to compile a look at the role the "Gang of Five" disruptors will have in the payments industry.
Of all brands, including the largest banks, PayPal rated at the top for trust at 34% of respondents, an improvement over its 2012 rating of 23%, says report author Mary Monahan, Javelin's executive vice president and research director for mobile.
"This was a big movement by PayPal," Monahan says. "PayPal's push into the real world at the point of sale likely had something to do with it."
PayPal, a kingpin in the e-commerce payments space, increased its presence at the physical point of sale through deals with Home Depot and Discover Financial Services and various other companies in the past year. PayPal also gained support from merchant acquirers like Heartland, Vantiv, WorldPay.
With those partnerships in place, PayPal projects consumers will find the payment option in up to 2 million brick-and-mortar stores by the end of the year, the report says.
Each member of the Gang of Five posted gains in consumer privacy protection, while none of the legacy brands did, the report says.
Apple remained the consumer choice as the most innovative brand at 38%, followed by Google at 32% and Amazon at 27%. Microsoft and PayPal rounded out the top five at 25% and 24%, respectively. Monahan expects PayPal's innovation ranking to move up in light of eBay's acquisition of Braintree and its plans to appeal to more startups through software tools.
In innovation perception, each of these companies posted gains between five and 10 percentage points over the previous year.
The survey provides an indication of which companies could best make the transition to mobile payments, social networks or mobile commerce, Monahan says.
"PayPal was set up to make that transition," Monahan says. "[PayPal president] David Marcus came in to turn that ship around, and it appears he has."
Marcus became company president in April of 2012, after joining PayPal in 2011 when the company bought Zong, a company Marcus established through Echovox.
All of the Gang of Five have a step up on financial institutions in a key category customer base. Google Android has more than 900 million registered devices worldwide, compared to Apple's 675 million, while Facebook has 1.15 billion accounts, of which 819 million are monthly mobile users. Amazon has 200 million accounts, while PayPal has 132 million.
When combined with their number of customers, these companies "have platforms and operating systems that are set up to transition well into mobile experiences," Monahan says.
In addition to payments capability, comparison-shopping will be a key part of that mobile experience. Consumers rated that feature the highest, at 63%, as one they would most likely use.
Despite the consumer affinity for nonbanks, financial institutions remain in a good position to attract and keep mobile consumers, Monahan says.
Overall, 43% of respondents stated they would use a mobile wallet offered by their primary financial institution, while PayPal was second at 34%. MasterCard's MasterPass at 25% and Google Wallet at 24% rounded out the top three brands.
"Banks can develop a group of mobile consumers and could bring those consumers to their merchants," Monahan says.
But barely half of the smartphone/tablet users said they would like to use their mobile phones to make purchases at a store or online checkout. All of the banks and nonbanks have much to do to spur adoption of mobile payments, says Daniel Van Dyke, a research associate for Javelin.
"Nobody views a mobile wallet as easier than swiping a plastic card," Van Dyke says.
Apple provides the best example of a company taking its time to establish a place in the mobile commerce world, Van Dyke adds.
"For Apple, it's always been about creating extensions of what the user is already doing to make the technology as seamless as possible," Van Dyke says. "I think Apple is getting there [with mobile payments] and is likely to introduce a wallet in the next year."