Millennials around the world ‘waiting’ for progress in payments

a young man and woman sitting on a stone bench in the rain looking at a smartphone

Millennials aren’t chomping at the bit to adopt the newest payment methods just yet, new research suggests. Instead they are biding their time, using traditional payments while waiting for advancements in the market.

It’s a general stereotype that millennials are the incredibly digital-savvy people who jump at the chance to pay with the latest technology and shudder at the thought of having to pay using older methods such as cash or even cheque.

However, new research, conducted by VocaLink, presents a more nuanced landscape.

For example, to highlight how millennials are not just one homogenous group of people: in Netherlands only 6% of millennials pay using cheque, while in the US it’s 70%.  Seven out of ten German millennials still pay for groceries in cash, while apparently a quarter of UK millennials are using mobile payments. These statistics show that while technology and digital payment methods are ubiquitous, their adoption and continued usage will be more influenced by country approaches to payments rather than age groups.

This is made abundantly clear through Apple Pay. In the UK, it’s the best-known mobile platform with awareness of 84%, with PayPal at 74%. In Italy and Germany that number drops down to 40% while in Holland it’s under a third (29%).

Even then, in the UK, where Apple has gone all out on promoting its contactless service and has the benefit of London’s vibrant contactless infrastructure (in no small way aided by TfL’s commitment to digital payments), where such high awareness is complimented by the fact that almost one in two millennials (46%) uses an iPhone, only 2% use the platform. In Netherlands and Germany that number drops down to 1%.

Cara O’Nions, director, marketing and customer insights, VocaLink, said: “The millennial generation is quite rightly pushing the payments industry to drive high quality innovation, currently dissatisfied with what is available today.”

She adds that statistics such as these indicate they are waiting for progress.

It is particularly interesting to see that millennials would prefer to remain with traditional payment providers while they are waiting for advancements in the market, and if they were to consider mobile payments in the future, the majority would prefer that this was offered by their bank.

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