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PayPal, BPAY dominate despite threat of buy now, pay later


Established digital payment methods hold their own against Afterpay and its peers, research shows.

By Josh Needs 9 minute read

PayPal and BPAY dominate digital payments with more than 19 million users between them in the year to September, dwarfing newbee buy now, pay later services such as Afterpay, according to research firm Roy Morgan. 

By comparison, buy now, pay later operators including Afterpay, Zip, Latitude Pay and Humm, attracted just 4 million users the survey found, despite slightly higher levels of customer awareness.

“The usage of the more traditional digital payment services PayPal and BPAY far exceeds that of Afterpay at a rate of around 3:1,” said Michele Levine, CEO at Roy Morgan. 

“Now 9.8 million (46.1 per cent) used PayPal and 9.3 million (43.8 per cent) used BPAY in the year to September 2022 compared to only 3.2 million (15.2 per cent) that used Afterpay.”

The large difference in usage comes despite Afterpay recording higher levels of brand awareness.

Three-quarters of Australians were aware of online payment platforms such as PayPal according to Roy Morgan, but more than four out of five knew about buy now, pay later. 

“Roy Morgan’s latest digital payments report reveals buy now, pay later services, such as Afterpay, Zip, Latitude Pay and Humm, are the most well known type of digital payment services in the market - now over 17.6 million (83.1 per cent) Australians know of these services,” said Ms Levine. 

“However, only 4.1 million Australians (19.4 per cent) have used a buy-now-pay-later service in the year to September 2022.” 

Ms Levine said advertising had helped raise awareness of buy now, pay later but the services were still relatively new.

“A large factor in the huge difference in the usage of the three services can be put down to time in the market,” she said. 

“Both PayPal and BPAY launched in the late 1990s, over 20 years ago, while Afterpay has only been in the market for under a decade since launching in 2014.” 

“But although extensive advertising can drive awareness among a large majority of the population there has to be a compelling reason for adoption and use.”

However, Ms Levine said that Afterpay was growing more quickly than PayPal and BPAY.

Over the past four years, Australians using the service went from 9 per cent up to 15.2 per cent, while over the same period PayPal put on 6 percentage points to 46.1 per cent and BPAY’s usage declined. 

“These trends show the market for digital payment services is more competitive than ever,” she said. 

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Josh Needs

Josh Needs


Josh Needs is a journalist at Accountants Daily and SMSF Adviser, which are the leading sources of news, strategy, and educational content for professionals in the accounting and SMSF sectors.

Josh studied journalism at the University of NSW and previously wrote news, feature articles and video reviews for Unsealed 4x4, a specialist offroad motoring website. Since joining the Momentum Media Team in 2022, Josh has written for Accountants Daily and SMSF Adviser.

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