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2024 Consumer Payment Trends: 5 Payment Trends to Watch

Customer using digital payment on smart watch

5 Payment Trends to Watch in 2024 

Innovations in payments technology have transformed in-store and online shopping experiences and how people and businesses exchange funds. Discover® Global Network surveyed 700 international English-speaking consumers ages 18 and over to better understand how consumers across the globe have come to trust and rely upon digital payments for their convenience, speed, and security. Here is a look at five of the emerging payments trends the survey identified. 

Consumers are trying and liking software point of sale (SoftPOS) 

SoftPOS allows merchants to use a commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) device (such as a mobile phone) to accept contactless payments without hardware like a payment terminal or a dongle. Merchants benefit from SoftPOS because they do not need to invest in typical payment terminals, while customers benefit from the familiarity of using tap-to-pay or digital wallets to complete transactions with a mobile device. The SoftPOS user base is estimated to grow 475% by 2027,1 positioning it as a major disrupter in the payments ecosystem.

Where is SoftPOS being used

* The difference in use between North America and Europe may be due to the availability of SoftPOS providers. Base: All respondents (n=700). Source: Survey commissioned by Discover Global Network, 2024.

2. Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) has consumers' attention

BNPL solutions that offer shoppers interest-free financing plans for purchases have boomed in popularity over the past five years. The Discover Global Network survey indicated  that one in three consumers have used a BNPL plan in the past year, and 73% of consumers who have tried a BNPL plan to use it again.2 Although the popularity of BNPL varies worldwide, BNPL payments are expected to account for nearly a quarter of e-commerce global transactions by 2026.3


Buy now pay later statistics

Q: How often have you used BNPL? Base: All respondents (n=700). Source: Survey commissioned by Discover Global Network, 2024.

3. Consumers view walk-out shopping positively

Walk-out shopping technology smooths typical retail pain points by enabling customers to pick out their items and leave the store without needing to stop at a self-checkout kiosk or cashiers. Amazon first made this technology available in the United States in 2018, and it is now used in the United Kingdom and Australia. Today, more than 85 third-party retailers offer walk-out shopping at sports stadiums, travel retailers, entertainment venues, theme parks, convenience stores, college campuses, and hospital cafeterias.4 Gen Z and Millennials report the most experience using it.2


Which generation walk out shops

Q: How would you describe your walk-out shopping experience? Base: All respondents (n=700). Source: Survey commissioned by Discover Global Network, 2024.

4. Consumers are beginning to use biometric payments

Biometric payments technology—which allows consumers to use unique characteristics like fingerprints, facial patterns, irises, or voices to verify their identity without relying on passwords or passcodes—is starting to gain momentum. In 2023, Amazon launched biometric payments in Whole Foods stores.5 Our research indicated that not all consumers may be ready for it. Sentiment varied by generation, with Gen Z and Millennial shoppers more open to using biometrics for payments than older generations.


Where are consumers using biometric payments

Biometrics in technology

Q: How open are you to using biometrics (e.g., face recognition) for the following? Base: All respondents (n=700). Source: Survey commissioned by Discover Global Network, 2024.
Disclaimer: Percentage of respondents who are at least moderately open to using biometrics for various payment methods. 

5. Interest in account-to-account options is high

Peer-to-peer (P2P) and other account-to-account applications like Zelle® allow consumers to quickly send money to and from each other using their computers or mobile devices. Many of those surveyed who use Zelle use it to send money to family and friends. The survey found that Gen Z and Millennials are more likely to have used Zelle to transfer money than Gen X, Baby Boomers, or the Silent Generation; however the technology appeals most to Gen Xers, who are most likely to use Zelle again after using it at least once.2 


Generation usage of Zelle

* While the number of Silent Generation survey participants planning to use Zelle again was compelling, not enough responded to make a generalization.
Q: Do you plan to use Zelle again? Base: All respondents (n=700). Source: Survey commissioned by Discover Global Network, 2024.


Looking ahead

Consumer expectations around payments are in a state of constant change. This is evident in the different patterns our survey found in the behaviors and preferences across generations and regions. As the technology that drives payments innovations continues to evolve, so will the ways people want to pay. 

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  1. (2023, December). How SoftPOS Is Poised to Revolutionize Payments. PYMNTS. Viewed 26 February 2023 from
  2. TSG (The Strawhecker Group). (2024). Payment Trends Shaping North America & Europe. Commissioned by Discover Global Network.
  3. (2023, March 30). Why buy now, pay later is a trend to watch. Global Payments. Viewed 26 February 2024 from
  4. Smith, Kevin. (2023, November 24). Amazon’s ‘Just Walk Out’ technology makes its way to Six Flags, other retailers. Los Angeles Daily News.. Viewed 26 February 2024 from
  5. Perez, Sarah. (2023, July 20). Amazon’s palm-scanning payment technology is coming to all 500+ Whole Foods. TechCrunch. Viewed 26 February 2024 from

The information provided herein is sponsored by Discover® Global Network. It is intended for informational purposes, and is not intended as a substitute for professional advice.