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Fighting Financial Exploitation on Person-to-Person Payment Platforms: What Consumers Want

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Person-to-Person (P2P) payment services allow consumers to transfer funds directly to a third party without the need for checks, cash, or debit cards. Nationwide, the number of P2P users in the United States is estimated to be 159.3 million—nearly half of the US population.

Full Report.

While use of these platforms has continued to grow, financial exploitation perpetrated on P2P platforms has also been on the rise. According to one study, P2P fraud grew by 733 percent between 2016 and 2019. Clearly, as consumers have embraced new financial practices, perpetrators likewise have adopted new tactics to steal their money.

Consumer experiences with financial exploitation on P2P platforms

AARP surveyed more than 2,000 adults ages 18 or older in June and July of 2023 to better understand consumer experiences with financial exploitation involving P2P platforms compared with financial exploitation involving traditional financial institutions, such as banks and credit unions.

The results show that experiences with exploitation affect respondents’ level of trust in these services, and that P2P services have an opportunity to better prevent financial exploitation and protect their customers’ assets through enhanced fraud-prevention services

Results reveal how American adults perceive P2P platforms in a time of heightened financial exploitation, how experiences with exploitation affect respondents’ level of trust in these services, and what actions people want P2P platforms to take to better prevent financial exploitation and protect their assets.

Key Findings

  • Nearly 1 in 5 (17%) adults who used a P2P platform in the last year has been the victim or intended victim of financial exploitation involving these platforms.
  • Among those who were targeted for financial exploitation using a P2P payment platform, more than half (59%) reported losing money.
  • Of those P2P users who lost money due to financial exploitation, 1 in 5 (19%) lost more than $5,000.
  • Consumers, particularly those age 50 and older, want P2P platforms to provide more services that offer protection from financial exploitation, including reimbursements, alerts, temporary transaction holds, and employee training.
  • Two-thirds (75%) of consumers aged 50+ say they want P2P platforms to train their employees to recognize fraud.

Conclusion

P2P services have an opportunity and a responsibility to adopt exploitation-prevention solutions that will not only instill more trust in the industry but also better protect the hard-earned assets of older Americans – the industry’s most valuable customers – who own two-thirds of US deposits.

Paired with the projected growth in P2P use, emerging concerns over the proliferation of artificial intelligence contribute to the urgency to act now. Proactive measures will ensure the progress of the P2P industry amid its projected growth and the evolving technological landscape.