They are young. They are mobile. And they are triggering a revolution that will remake the payments landscape.
That’s the takeaway from a new study by Cincinnati-based payments processing company Vantiv, which called the report “Mobile Payments and the Consumer of the Future.”
According to Vantiv, consumers 18-34 years of age are “increasingly mobile.” 56% own a smartphone, 27% own a tablet, and among Gen Y consumers, smartphone and tablet ownership levels are 78% and 34% respectively. Many own multiple mobile devices.
A key finding in the research: “22% of young consumers expect mobile payments to be their preferred method for paying in restaurants by 2018.”
Another key finding: many of this younger generation shows a clear preference for prepaid cards, rather than debit or checking (share draft) accounts, said Lorena Harris, vice president of Corporate Marketing at Vantiv.
According to the report, “They are especially interested in general purpose reloadable cards, with 29% of young adults buying those, compared to 19% of 35-64 year-olds and just 3% of seniors.”
Harris also said the research suggests young consumers have not yet seen the mobile payments tools they want. They definitely want to use their smartphones to pay, Harris said, but apparently the technology is not meeting expectations.
She elaborated, “Our research shows they are very aware of the mobile payments options but they are not necessarily using them. They are not jumping on [the tools they see] with enthusiasm.”
Harris added, “About 40% [of young consumers] believe mobile payments will be common in two years.”
They also presently state a preference for digital wallets issued by their financial institutions but, said Harris, that could change if an early mover issued a wallet that gained acclaim.
Vantiv also detected plummeting interest in NFC, the wave-and-tap Near Field Communications payments technology that had been billed as the heir apparent in mobile payments just a few years ago.
“We see interest fading,” said Harris. More concretely: the Vantiv report indicated: “while awareness of NFC-based payments technology has increased 9%, interest in using it declined by 13% during the same period.“