Not Even Millennials Care About Mobile Payments, Studies Show

Turns out even millennials don’t care that much about mobile payments.

According to a report presented by the tech consultancy Accenture at Money20/20, the number of those of us in North America who use our mobile phones to pay at the point of sale hasn’t changed in the slightest since last year, even though over half of the consumers surveyed — 56% — are now aware that they can use their phones to pay.

Digital payments are on the rise, and technically we use mobile payments when we shop on our phones in apps or on browsers. Plus, those of us who do use mobile payments are happy about it, according to Accenture—the survey reported 76% satisfaction with the payment method.

It’s just that those of us who don’t use mobile don’t particularly feel as though we’re missing out on anything special.

In other words, mobile payments still lack a clear value proposition to bring more believers on board. Yet despite that, companies like IBM keep introducing new ways to pay.

The study claims:

Just 19 percent of consumers pay in store with their phones like last year. Those who have yet to (37 percent) point to a simple reason why: Cash and plastic cards meet their needs.

The data reports that 32% of millennials are using their mobile phones for P2P payments (think Venmo) when compared to an 18% average across other demographics, which means this group is still in the lead when it comes to early tech adoption.

However 32% is still a pretty tepid response. Consider other data like VocaLink’s survey “The Millennial Influence,” which claims that 82% of millennials have heard of Apple Pay compared with an 8% use rate for it among those millennials with iPhones.

When combined with data that shows millennials are equally indifferent or even anxious about using credit cards at the point of sale, e-commerce or in store, and it’s no wonder that companies like Apple, Samsung, Walmart, and even IBM now are working enthusiastically to make their mobile solution finally be the one that works.

Other companies have a different approach to the problem; like Sezzle, one of the companies parked out on Startup Row  in the exhibit hall of the Money20/20 conference that finished up this week in Vegas.

Sezzle, the second payments company founded by Charlie Youakim (the first was the transit service Passport), plans to combine what users typically love about credit—rewards—with what they typically love about P2P payments like Venmo: the speed, security, and the fact that the payment is taken directly out of a linked bank account.

“ACH has been around for a lot of other systems: mortgages, payroll, but it’s never worked at the e-commerce point of sale,” said Youakim. “By next year, same-day ACH will be fully implemented and we want to give [merchants and consumers] access to those rails.”

The company is tentatively scheduled to launch next week, as a payment method for around 30 e-commerce stores on Shopify. Sezzle’s payment platform is primarily designed to cut merchant processing fees for these stores and others it might add to its network later on, but as an incentive to customers it is providing 1% cash back on all purchases.

Granted, the ACH payment rails are not quite as sexy as mobile—but as we wait for that to pick up speed, paying for online goods with debit-style, cash-back payments seems like a good intermediate step. At the very least, we won’t have to awkwardly juggle our phones and wallet at a physical register as we try to see if mobile is even accepted.

To learn more about payments, join us in Tel Aviv for Bank Innovation Israel this November 1-3.Register here.

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