Credit Cards or PayPal: How Do Consumers Prefer to Pay Online?

Research & Data

Let’s imagine for a moment that your web-based business’s ability to collect online payments from customers is just like your body’s ability to digest food. The easier it is to accept (and digest) those payments, the bigger and stronger your business will become. So, the easier it is for your customers to pay you, the more satisfied they’ll probably be. The chances of them coming back for a second, third or fourth helping are much higher if they have a hassle-free payment experience than one that’s complicated or too slow.

Using SurveyMonkey Audience, an online tool for gaining insights from a target demographic, we asked over 300 Americans how they prefer to make payments when making online purchases. We wanted to better understand how their payment preferences might differ for personal purchases vs. making purchases for work and also find out how people feel about auto-recurring subscription services like Netflix and The New York Times.

Here’s what we learned.

Perhaps not surprisingly, good old-fashioned plastic is still the most preferred payment method online for Americans. Online payment service, PayPal, and debit cards are neck and neck with one another for second place.

Since recurring-billing subscription business models like the ones used by Netflix, The New York Times, DropBox (and ours!) continue to thrive, we wanted to know how folks prefer to pay for their services.

For online subscriptions, once again the credit card turned out to be the #1 preferred payment option by an overwhelming majorify for auto-recurring subscriptions. Hardly anyone opted for PayPal. This is an interesting insight for business owners with this type of subscription model–adding PayPal as a provider might not need to be at the top of your payment priority list.

However, no need to worry, PayPal fans. For people who make purchases on behalf of their business or employer, PayPal was the preferred payment method at 15%.

For those who work in Business-to-business (B2B) transactions, it might be worth experimenting in using PayPal as a payment provider.

This is just a taste of what we learned about consumers and their online payment preferences. To learn about how mobile devices affect consumer payment choices and more, check out our full set of survey results here.

Are you interested in hearing more from your customers and getting your own business as healthy and strong as it can be? Get started with SurveyMonkey Audience today!

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  • Shane

    I’m trying to sign up for SurveyMonkey Select. But when i go to fill out the order form, it keeps coming up in a foreign language–Korean. I am in Korea, but I don’t speak Korean. I don’t know where else to ask the question so I put it here…sorry! Please help^^

    • Kayte K

      Hi Shane, if you’re in Korea then you’ll see the site in Korean. If you scroll all the way to the bottom of the homepage, choose English or your preferred language, and click that. It should appear in English for you then. You may need to keep clicking on the English icon at the bottom when you move to different areas of the site. Here’s some more help for you too from our Help Center: http://help.surveymonkey.com/articles/en_US/kb/How-can-I-use-my-account-in-my-language

      Let us know if that does the trick!