This report, sponsored by NCR, explores consumer payment preferences, examining how consumers prefer to pay and how multiple types of payments are finding ways to capture spend across different purchase instances. Credit cards may be consumers’ most preferred payment option, but consumers still want to pay with other options like debit cards, cash, and cryptocurrency in certain contexts, highlighting the need to enable consumers to pay how they want to pay. This study looks at consumers’ views and usage of various payment methods, the importance of payment choice, and the future outlooks of credit cards, debit cards, cash, and cryptocurrency as payment options.

This research report was independently produced by Javelin Strategy & Research. Javelin maintains independence in data collection, findings, and analysis.


The digitization of payments has made the credit card consumers’ top payment tool, but consumers have not settled on just one option. Consumers demand the choice to pay using their preferred payment method in all channels, giving them the flexibility to access different funding options as needed, and to adjust how they pay based on transaction value, merchant type, or whether they’re shopping in person or online. The desire for payment choice has opened the door for debit, cash, and cryptocurrency to each win a share of consumer spending. Debit can attract spend thanks to its direct connection to checking accounts, consumers will still turn to cash to simplify transactions for small purchases or at small merchants, and crypto’s growing profile could make it a more popular payment choice in the next few years. As long as consumers value payment choice, there will be room for alternative payment types to be introduced, attract spending, and change the outlook of the payments landscape. This report lays out the current landscape of consumers’ top payment choices and considers how their preferences may change in the years to come.

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