The mobile peer-to-peer (P2P) space has grown in popularity over the years, thanks in large part to three key players that are propelling immense growth in both the number of users and payment transaction value.
Last year, Venmo, Zelle, and Cash App saw unprecedented growth, boosted by the pandemic. Each of these companies continues to innovate and transform the space, which in turn is not just attracting new users, but also retaining existing ones. To get a better understanding of the mobile P2P space, and how these players are revolutionizing it, we break down what usage looks like, what’s driving growth, and where it’s heading next.
By the end of this year, we expect there will be 48.2 million Zelle users in the US, making up 18.5% of the population. Growth will continue through the end of our forecasting period in 2025, when the service will have 63.0 million users.
Zelle’s position in the P2P space is unique. It’s owned by seven of the largest US banks, including Bank of America, Wells Fargo, and JPMorgan Chase—and the company continues to add more banking partnerships, resulting in increased volume and adoption. Last year alone, Zelle added 457 new financial institutions to its network, including a number of small banks and credit unions through a partnership with Fiserv.
As noted in our recent report “The Payments Ecosystem,” consumers turn to Zelle for bill paying and larger transactions. Small businesses also use the service to pay their bills, as well as to take care of healthcare payments for their employees and pay contractors. Some even use the product for its invoicing features.
We estimate that last year, roughly $272 billion transacted via Zelle’s mobile app in the US. By the end of 2022, that figure will have nearly doubled, reaching $500.82 billion.
Unlike Zelle, Venmo’s platform is better suited for social payments and skews toward a younger audience, particularly millennials. As such, it leans more into peer-to-merchant transactions. This year, there will be 77.8 million Venmo users in the US, making up nearly 30% of the population. The user base will grow steadily throughout our forecast period, and by the end of 2024, Venmo will surpass 100 million users.
Out of the three key players, Venmo will make up the highest share of the P2P space: Almost 58% of US P2P mobile payment users will be on its platform by the end of 2021.
In its Q4 2020 earnings call, PayPal—Venmo’s parent company—said that the mobile payments app would get a slew of upgrades, including support for buying and selling cryptocurrencies, a savings feature, and budgeting tools. What’s more, PayPal intends to integrate Honey, a coupon and savings service, into its main platform, as well as within Venmo’s platform.
In 2020, $148.80 billion transacted via Venmo in the US, and we expect this figure to reach $304.52 billion by the end of 2023.
With nearly 30% of US P2P mobile payment users on Cash App this year, the Square-owned company is certainly gaining headway.
As of the end of December 2020, Cash App had stored balances of approximately $2 billion from its customers, with much of the revenues for Square coming from Bitcoin revenues—an indication that the platform continues to shift into cryptocurrency.
For the most part, Cash App’s instant deposit cash card allows funds to be utilized in-store—and it’s become an increasingly larger portion of the company’s business.
By the end of 2022, nearly $128 billion will transact via Cash App in the US, and in 2025, that figure will surpass the $200 billion mark.
2020 was an extremely strong year for the payments space, especially for these platforms. Consumers became more comfortable using mobile P2P payments—and not just within social settings. For many, P2P payments became a replacement for traditional money transfers, as well as for cash and checks.
By the end of 2023, we expect $1.152 trillion will transact via mobile P2P apps, driven by Venmo, Zelle, and Cash App.
“While both older and younger smartphone users are driving adoption of mobile P2P payment apps, growth comes primarily from Gen Z,” said Oscar Orozco, eMarketer director of forecasting at Insider Intelligence. “As this younger cohort ages into both smartphone adoption and positions of financial responsibility, we expect them to start using one or more of these payment apps with friends and family. We estimate that 38.5% of Gen Z smartphone users in the US will transact via these apps. By the end of 2025, this proportion will be closer to 62%.”
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