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One-third of consumers believe payment companies aren’t able to help them tackle the cost-of-living crisis


Carta Worldwide has launched of a new study that reveals consumers are increasingly ambivalent toward their payments providers because they are failing to meet their needs in the economic downturn.

The study ‘Carta Worldwide Payments Pulse 2023: Why payment providers need to be purpose-driven’ reveals that consumers are focused on saving for the future, paying off debt, and adjusting their outgoings because they can no longer afford their current lifestyle. Yet payment providers are failing to provide consumers the services they want to better manage their money. The study is based on an independent survey of 1,000 UK consumers in November 2022 by Censuswide.

Key findings include:

Return to the payments mean

The pandemic accelerated innovations in digital payments and ushered in significant changes in consumer payments habits, pushing them beyond the mean. Now, the shockwaves of the recession are causing them to peddle back, returning to trusted methods of payment.

  • Cards are still the most popular payment method. Almost all (95%) of consumers said they used either credit (65%) or debit cards (30%).
  • Cash is second only to cards, with 42% of consumers using the payment method on a regular basis.
  • While existing payment methods are preferred, three quarters (75%) of consumers plan to change their payment habits to meet the wider economic downturn.
  • However, more than a third (37%) of consumers believe payments providers aren’t able to help them tackle the demands driven by the cost-of-living crisis and recession.

Payments with purpose

Firms must align with customer values and emerging needs, centred around their financial goals, savings, and security. During downturns, values take on heightened importance and it will be the agile payments providers that find innovative ways to help consumers better manage their spending that will be successful.

Evolution not revolution

Tough times can lead to profound innovation, but to sustain growth that innovation must happen on top of trusted and more traditional methods of payment and align with consumers’ new preferences. New and disruptive services like “embedded payments” won’t gain traction during the downturn, unless they align payments with purpose.

  • Credit is most popular within the 18-24 age range, with 42% of respondents choosing it as a preferred payment method.
  • Over half (51%) of all respondents made no embedded payment purchases in the last three months.

 Richard Wray, Chief Operations Officer at Carta Worldwide, said, “The payments industry must now focus on fusing trusted and traditional methods with real purpose to meet the changing needs of consumers in the wake of the cost of living crisis and recession,” “The research clearly shows that there is an emerging demand for purposeful payments from supporting new financial goals, better insights into spending, and more security. With many providers struggling to meet these demands, those that are able to deliver payments with purpose will be in pole position.”

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