Chart of the Week: Who’s Using Which Mobile Payment Apps?

Mobile payment apps have been on the rise in international markets, particularly in Asia. In fact, the total amount of mobile payments made in China in 2016 was almost 50 times greater than the amount made in the U.S. As many of these international players turn their attentions towards American and European markets, it’s important to understand who is currently using the existing crop of online payment tools. We looked at user numbers and demographics (among U.S. adults, ages 18 and above) to see who is currently using three of the biggest mobile payment apps on the market: Paypal, Venmo (which was acquired by Paypal in 2013), and Square Cash.

Paypal, Venmo, and Square Cash: Which Mobile Payment App Do Millennials Prefer?

Paypal is one of the oldest mobile payment companies – it was originally founded as Cofinity in 1998, before being renamed as Paypal in 2001 – and unsurprisingly also has the lion’s share of the market. According to Verto Watch data, Paypal’s mobile app had 32 million unique monthly users in July 2017 and nearly 15% reach, compared to Venmo’s 10 million unique monthly users and Square Cash’s reported 3 million monthly users. But beyond sheer user numbers, a look at each app’s audience demographics reveals interesting insights into who uses which app.

Note: some numbers have been rounded.
Note: some numbers have been rounded.

Unlike its smaller peers, Paypal’s user base is slightly skewed towards women, who comprise 56% of its user base. Paypal’s users also tend to be older: 22% of their user base is aged 55 or older, compared to just 7% of Venmo users and 10% of Square Cash users who fall into this age range. Venmo’s users are much more concentrated to Millennials and Gen Z: nearly three quarters of their user base (74%) is below the age of 35. And Square Cash’s user base is even more concentrated: half of their users are between the ages of 25 and 34. Venmo and Square Cash also skew heavily male – in fact, male Square Cash users outnumber female users by a ratio of 2:1.

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