Nearly 4 in 10 Americans Are Mooching Off Someone Else’s Streaming Account

It’s official: Americans love to stream. With more than 8 in 10 Americans saying they spend money on at least one streaming service — and 4 in 10 admitting that they mooch off someone else’s paid account — binge-watching is a national pastime.

That was among the key findings in a LendingTree survey of over 1,500 Americans on their streaming habits. The survey also revealed that parents are the group most likely to subscribe, Netflix is the most popular service and more than a third of streamers are earning credit card rewards on their subscription spend.

Key findings

  • As of February 2021, 81% of consumers were spending money on at least one streaming service subscription. Netflix has the top spot, as 60% of Americans have a paid account, followed by Amazon Prime Video (43%) and Hulu (38%).
  • Nearly 4 in 10 Americans are mooching off of someone else’s streaming account, and about a third do so without permission from the account holder. Of those who log in with someone else’s account, 52% are Netflix watchers, the most common choice by far.
  • Some consumers — 43% — don’t think it’s fair to the streaming company to use someone else’s account without paying for your own. Baby boomers (66%) were much more likely to agree with that statement.
  • Still, 51% of those who have a streaming service account admit they let others use it, too. Netflix is once again the most popular shared service, as 72% let someone use their account.
  • Some may share streaming accounts to trim their costs, as a quarter of streamers fork over more than $50 per month. For parents with kids under 18, that percentage rises to 34%. On average, consumers have three different accounts.
  • Streamers are missing out on credit card rewards. Only 37% earn rewards by paying for their subscriptions with their credit cards, even though some issuers offer lucrative streaming benefits.

“Credit card issuers have fallen in love with streaming rewards in the past year, so if you spend a lot of money on streaming, it’s worth looking into what your cards offer,” said LendingTree’s Chief Credit Analyst, Matt Schulz. “Just be sure that you keep your spending in perspective, for example, don’t throw away a good grocery rewards card for one that gives more for streaming.”

To view the full report, visit: 

LendingTree commissioned Qualtrics to field an online survey of 1,546 Americans, conducted Feb. 11 to Feb. 16, 2021. The survey was administered using a non-probability-based sample, and quotas were used to ensure the sample base represented the overall population. All responses were reviewed by researchers for quality control.