Peer-To-Peer Brands Are Battling for the Future

Peer-to-peer (P2P) brands and big names like PayPal, Venmo, Google, Apple, Snap, and Zelle are revving up for big increases in digital payments activity in 2018 . Apple Pay Cash was rolled out last month, which means that anyone with an iPhone has probably seen it pushed to their texting app in recent weeks, and scammers are already targeting teens who use Snapchat’s Snapcash feature. We have to wonder if it’s only a matter of time before our phones will serve as our only form of payment.

In the most recent wave of our Koski Research Future of Money Study, we found that more than a third (36%) of the U.S. population currently reports actively using P2P, driven in part by Millennials (48%) and Gen X (37%) who report using P2P. While these two core groups make up a big part of those using P2P, we see younger generations (Gen Z) and older ones (Boomers) also sending each other money digitally.

Related: The Consumer Mindset Around Money Is Going Digital

A large proportion of P2P users (71%) are using it for the convenience of paying someone directly for a product or service—from paying the babysitter, to splitting a dinner out, or paying the plumber. Gone are the days of hunting for cash or running to the ATM before a haircut: Venmo may become the stylist’s choice for tips. Will Apple, Google, and others be taking some of this market share?

PayPal (not surprisingly) as the original player in P2P, still leads the way in awareness among the top 7 (arguably) brands. Newer players such as Google Pay and Apple Pay Cash show strong P2P awareness given their newness, which may be in part due to their overall brand awareness. And while Venmo has lower awareness, its usage is on par with other platforms and is even edging out some of the big, global brands. Square Cash and Snapcash are less known and not used by many (though teens may soon change this statistic!). Zelle, the re-branded and re-launched P2P service that was formerly called “clearXchange,” has the lowest usage and awareness at the moment. This too may shift as the big banks continue to market the platform to their large customer bases. Clearly the battle in 2018 will be all about building brand awareness and capturing user loyalty.