YouGov, GoCardless: US Lags in Payment Options Available

June 6, 2019         By: Steven Anderson

Does it seem sometimes like you’ve got too many options in stores these days when it comes to checkout? Cash, check, credit or debit card, mobile payments systems, and soon—last we heard, anyway—contactless payment systems. According to a new study sent our way from YouGov and GoCardless, meanwhile, the United States actually has fewer options than much of the rest of the world does, and encourages the adoption of automated clearinghouse (ACH) bank debit tools as well.

The study, titled “Payment Preferences for Recurring Purchases: The Consumer Payer 2019”, takes a look at payment methods involved in the online subscription services front. That includes things like cloud storage or streaming video services. Overwhelmingly, credit cards are preferred for such a system, alongside debit cards and bank checks. For a growing number, however—19 percent of respondents in this study—ACH Bank Debit, otherwise known as “direct debit” would also be a preferred tool if it were offered.

US consumers aren’t alone in their interest in ACH Bank Debit either, the study finds, as a wide range of countries already offer the service for users. With North American consumers using credit cards for over half their purchases—more than any other—the ability for ACH Bank Debit to make an impact could be worthwhile. With US consumers also singing an average of 38 checks a year, there’s also some room to seize a bit of that market as well.

Granted, the study points out there’s some interest in the ACH Bank Debit concept, and more power to it. With 19 percent of studied customers interested, there could be some market headway to be made. The problem with that, however, is that most of those customers are already getting by using some other system. If ACH Bank Debit does start rolling out, how many of that 19 percent bloc will switch horses in mid-stream, so to speak, and put a new payment system to work? Some, perhaps, but enough to matter?

Still, as long as there are new subscription services, that bloc may well put ACH Bank Debit to use, making it a worthwhile option. It never hurts to have more choices, because you reach larger potential shares of market that way.