Our latest Expectations & Experiences research shows consumers want help with money decisions
Whether it’s finding the best rate or a preferred offer on a credit card, using AI for financial advice or embracing the convenience of digital payments, people are finding ways to make money management work for them. New research from Fiserv suggests people are looking for advice, convenience and value when managing their money.
Expectations & Experiences: AI and Payments Innovation, the most recent consumer trends research from Fiserv, examines attitudes and habits toward personal finance, payment options and AI-powered banking.
Generative AI emerges as a money management tool
The uptake of generative AI, including for financial activities, is completely different than what we’ve seen for voice-activated devices.
More than half of consumers (55%) use voice-activated, conversational AI like Siri or Alexa. Of those, 15% say they’ve used the technology to complete a transaction, such as paying a bill, checking a balance or sending money to someone. Those findings are consistent with what we’ve seen in our Expectations & Experiences research over the past seven years.
But what about generative AI, like the technology behind ChatGPT? ChatGPT took two months to reach 100 million active users – a milestone that credit cards took 15 years to achieve. Are people more open to using the technology to help with their finances? They just might be.
Approximately one-third of people (32%) have used generative AI. Of those, 56% have used it to conduct financial activities, including everything from budgeting and expense tracking (24%) to investment ideas (21%) and gathering loan information (17%).
Maybe it’s the self-serve nature of AI, growing awareness of how to write prompts, or the articles about ChatGPT delivering returns of more than 400%, but people appear to be open to generative AI’s potential for financial support. What’s more, 65% say they are satisfied with the experience, a number that rises to 93% if we include those who are at least partly satisfied.
Consumers want value
Whether it’s paying another person with an app or choosing which card to pull out of their wallet, consumers make choices that are convenient, make financial sense and, when possible, come with incentives.
Rates and rewards are driving card selection and card switching. Of those who use more than one credit card, 69% say accumulating rewards is the driving factor in the card they choose.
But many people who have multiple cards only use one. How do they choose? Some say their other card is for emergencies (37%) while others (33%) are looking for rewards points.
And what makes them switch? This is where incentives become especially important. About one in five have changed their primary card in the past two years – mostly due to cash-back offers (40%), better interest rates (35%) and better rewards (34%). If you want to attract card switchers, offering value is where the opportunity lies.
Value is a theme with person-to-person payments too. No matter what P2P service people use most, they cite “it’s fast” and “it’s free” among the top three reasons they choose the service they do. The third reason? It depends on the service.
PayPal users are more likely to say it’s because they’re familiar with the service, which makes sense given the platform’s legacy status. Venmo and CashApp users, who skew younger, choose those services because the people they transact with prefer them.
And for Zelle users, it’s about security. That’s consistent with our previous research findings: When it comes to their money, people see their financial institutions as the most secure type of organization.
The backdrop of an unclear economic environment
The unusual economic environment ushered in by the pandemic has continued throughout 2023. Rising interest rates, high inflation and soaring credit card debt are countered by asset growth, record-low unemployment and wage increases.
How consumers feel about their finances is a mixed bag. According to the survey, 39% say their financial situations are the same as 12 months ago, and 67% of those expect the same next year.
People who are doing better financially (25%) also expect more of the same, with 76% expecting their situation to improve even more a year from now. Those who are using more financing, younger consumers and people who make over $100,000 per year are most likely to say they are doing better.
For the 33% of consumers who say they are doing worse, changes are driven by changes in income (30%) and routine expenses (28%). Write-in reasons included rising prices, cost of living, inflation and debt.
It’s clear that people are in different places on their financial journeys – and whether someone is experiencing prosperity or scarcity is likely the result of a range of factors.
The Expectations & Experiences findings suggest that no matter how unpredictable the economy overall or an individual’s circumstances may be, people are likely turning to tools and technology to help them navigate their financial lives.