A majority of millennials, Generation Xers and Baby Boomers are making digital payments online and with money-transferring apps.
Here’s one way that paying bills is getting easier.
Managing finances is a burden for almost a third (30%) of consumers, according to financial tech provider Fiserv, so more users are turning to digital methods of sending money. Three in four millennials have made online or mobile person-to-person (P2P) payments, according to a recent study by the money-transferring mobile app Zelle. Generation X (aged 39 to 53) comes in a close second at 69%, and Baby Boomers (54 to 74) at 51%.
The most common uses of mobile banking apps included paying rent, splitting utility bills, sharing meals and gifting. Aside from Zelle, these services include PayPal, Venmo and Square Cash.
“What we are finding is that because you can send money instantly, consumers are using online transferring apps as effective cash management tools,” Ravi Loganathan, head of industry research at Zelle, told Moneyish. “It benefits consumers because they can have a real-time view of their cash flow, and it helps them to better manage their expenses, across all age groups.”
And consumers are using these services routinely: Of the 9,229 consumers surveyed between the ages of 18 and 65, 49% of millennials were using digital P2P payment services at least once a week, with 42% of Gen Xers and 36% of Boomers following suit.
And more people are buying into this kind of money sharing. The number of Americans who have used a financial institution’s digital P2P service grew from 14% in 2015 to 19% in 2016, according to a survey by Fiserv. The use of P2P payment apps is expected to grow by double digits across all age groups through 2021, eMarketer reports. And Business Insider Intelligence expects share earnings from these services to reach $336 billion in 2021 from their current $97 billion.
Established trust in financial institutions has helped sell the older generation on these services. Because most digital cash-transferring services are directly embedded within banking applications and are being offered by financial institutions on their websites, more Boomers who aren’t digital natives are willing to try them, said Loganathan. “Most digital P2P services do not involve downloading a strange new app, so it becomes part of (users’) day-to-day banking habits,” he added.
But with a growing number of digital money-transferring apps like Google Wallet and Dwolla that are offered outside of financial institutions, security is still a primary concern for users. “Consumers don’t know what the trusted sources are to better manage finances,” said Loganathan. “That is why leaning towards apps offered through financial institutions, like Zelle, is important.”
Meanwhile, 68% of millennials cite recommendations from friends and family referrals as their main reasons for trying an online payment service, according to the study. The number was lower for Generation X at 36%.
And younger demographics are more inclined to make smaller, more frequent payments on the app than older users. “Frequency of transactions and dollar value is the biggest difference between younger age groups and older age groups,” Loganathan said. “What we are finding is that younger segments tend to conduct more frequent transactions on a weekly basis, and that the dollar value of the transaction value increases as you get older.”
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