Apple Pay Tops Consumer Reports P2P Mobile Payments Rankings

August 8, 2018         By: Steven Anderson

When it comes to product reviews, there are few sources more trusted than Consumer Reports. People who wouldn’t trust an Amazon product review or even some of the web’s greatest sources will take Consumer Reports’ word for most anything. Now, Consumer Reports has released word about the leaders in the peer-to-peer (P2P) mobile payments market, and the leader is none other than Apple Pay.

Apple Pay leads the way with a total score of 76 out of 100. It’s followed in fairly short order by Venmo at 69, Square’s Cash App at 64, Facebook’s P2P Payments in Messenger at a very close 63, and finally, recent challenger and bank-backed Zelle, who could only coax a score of 50 out of the venerable review guide.

Apple Pay landed the top slot via a solid-to-excellent performance in every category, landing “excellent” or “very good” in payment authentication and data privacy. The only complaint against Apple was its lack of “broad access,” meaning it’s limited to the Apple walled garden.

Zelle, meanwhile, was socked by its worse-than-average performance in data security and data privacy. In fact, Consumer Reports called attention to a point we’d raised not long ago: Zelle is short on key features that can prevent accidentally sending cash to the wrong person and forcing the user to rely on the recipient’s inherent morality at returning a mis-sent quantity of cash.

Interestingly, Zelle told Consumer Reports it plans to add sender confirmation before activating transfers by Halloween. Zelle did, however, take home top marks for customer service, matching Venmo’s own performance therein.

It’s actually a bit of a surprise how this turned out; Apple Pay came rather late to the P2P party, but apparently brought all the lessons it learned from mobile payments in general along with it. Zelle, which recently made a serious push on the number one slot in terms of use, is actually far behind the curve when it comes to protection and the like. Venmo, despite being the true pioneer in P2P, could only must the number two slot.

Preconceived notions often die hard, and Consumer Reports’ figures make it clear that not everything we believe about the market always holds up. Still, everyone’s got their marching orders now, so look for some improvements to likely come along soon.