Insights North America Paytech Trending

Debit Cards Remain King in US With 78% of Consumers; but POS Payment Landscape is ‘Moving Quickly’

US-based data analytics and consumer intelligence company, J.D. Power, has released its inaugural ‘J.D. Power US Consumer POS Payment Program’, consisting of a range of studies exploring consumer choice and preferences regarding how they make payments.

With a vast number of payment options available to US consumers, the majority have at some point engaged with some form of digital, point-of-sale (POS) payment option in addition to cash. According to the inaugural J.D. Power study, consumers have used at least four different types of payment methods, including debit cards, cash, credit cards, digital wallets and buy now/pay later (BNPL).

The programme consists of four interconnected J.D. Power syndicated studies: the POS Choice Satisfaction Study; Debit Card Satisfaction Study; Digital Wallet Satisfaction Study; and BNPL Satisfaction Study. Collectively, the studies captured the responses of 62,635 consumers.

The programme, which includes evaluations of 30 top payment brands and 11 different payment methods, aims to deliver a nuanced view of changing consumer behaviour patterns and preferences for forms of POS payment.

Miles Tullo, managing director of banking and payments at J.D. Power
Miles Tullo, managing director of banking and payments at J.D. Power

Miles Tullo, managing director of banking and payments at J.D. Power, discussed the current payment landscape: “The POS payment landscape is moving very quickly, and consumers are being confronted with so many different options that we’re seeing a real splintering of the total addressable market.

“Consumers now use multiple different payment options for dozens of different reasons, mostly correlated with specific needs but sometimes out of basic habit.

“By analysing consumer behaviour across the proliferation of different POS payment types, scenarios and consumer personas, we’re able to provide critical insights on what’s driving utilisation and what steps brands need to take to scale POS payment products.”

A changing payment landscape

Despite the increasing availability of new forms of digital payment, debit cards remained the most popular form of payment at the point of sale, with 78 per cent of consumers indicating that they use debit cards for purchases.

Debit cards use was followed by cash (74 per cent); credit cards (66 per cent); digital wallets (36 per cent); gift cards (33 per cent); BNPL (28 per cent); merchant apps (20 per cent); checks (19 per cent); prepaid cards (14 per cent); pay by bank (seven per cent); and cryptocurrency (three per cent).

While most consumers said they primarly use debit cards, they also explained that they use multiple forms of payment. On average, consumers are using 4.1 different payment methods, and the reasons given for each varies considerably, incorporating everything from ease of use to the perception of social status associated with different forms of payment.

Meanwhile 55 per cent of consumers have been using newer forms of digital payment methods, such as digital wallets, BNPL, merchant apps and even cryptocurrency. The most frequently used of these are digital wallets (36 per cent) and BNPL (28 per cent).

Looking at patterns of consumer behaviour and customer satisfaction with different forms of POS payment methods, J.D. Power identified six distinct consumer personas that POS payment brands can use to segment the market and target delivery of their offerings: experimenters; borrowers; rewards optimisers; security seekers; budgeters; as well as minimalists.

J.D. Power has also measured the financial health of consumers since 2020 and embedded those measurements into its Customer POS Payment Program. The results highlight the influence consumer financial health has on POS decision-making and indicate how behaviours are likely to change with economic conditions.


  • Tom joined The Fintech Times in 2022 as part of the operations team; later joining the editorial team as a journalist.

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