They are young. They are mobile. And they are triggering arevolution that will remake the payments landscape.

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That's the takeaway from a new study by Cincinnati-basedpayments processing company Vantiv, which called the report“Mobile Payments and the Consumer of the Future.”

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According to Vantiv, consumers 18-34 years of age are“increasingly mobile.” 56% own a smartphone, 27% own atablet, and among Gen Y consumers, smartphone and tablet ownershiplevels are 78% and 34% respectively. Many own multiple mobiledevices.

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A key finding in the research: “22% of young consumers expectmobile payments to be their preferred method for paying inrestaurants by 2018.”

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Another key finding: many of this younger generation shows aclear preference for prepaid cards, rather than debit or checking(share draft) accounts, said Lorena Harris, vice president ofCorporate Marketing at Vantiv.

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According to the report, “They are especially interested ingeneral purpose reloadable cards, with 29% of young adults buyingthose, compared to 19% of 35-64 year-olds and just 3% ofseniors.”

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Harris also said the research suggests young consumers have notyet seen the mobile payments tools they want. They definitely wantto use their smartphones to pay, Harris said, but apparently thetechnology is not meeting expectations.

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She elaborated, “Our research shows they are very aware of themobile payments options but they are not necessarily using them.They are not jumping on [the tools they see] withenthusiasm.”

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Harris added, “About 40% [of young consumers] believe mobilepayments will be common in two years.”

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They also presently state a preference for digital walletsissued by their financial institutions but, said Harris, that couldchange if an early mover issued a wallet that gained acclaim.

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Vantiv also detected plummeting interest in NFC, the wave-and-tap Near Field Communications paymentstechnology that had been billed as the heir apparent in mobilepayments just a few years ago.

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“We see interest fading,” said Harris. More concretely:the Vantiv report indicated: “while awareness of NFC-based paymentstechnology has increased 9%, interest in using it declined by 13%during the same period.“

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