More Mobile Phone Users Report Having Made Mobile Payments

April 2, 2015

This article is included in these additional categories:

African-American | Boomers & Older | Digital | Financial Services | Hispanic | Household Income | Men | Mobile Phone | Youth & Gen X

FedReserve-Use-Mobile-Payments-by-Age-Group-Apr2015Some 22% of mobile phone users surveyed in 2014 by the Federal Reserve report having made a mobile payment at some point during the prior 12 months, up from 17% the prior year, according to the agency’s 4th annual study [pdf] of mobile financial services. Among mobile phone users, the 18-29 (34%) and 30-44 (31%) age groups proved most likely to have used mobile payments, as did Black non-Hispanics (34%) and Hispanics (32%).

The most common mobile payment tasks among smartphone users who identified as payment users were:

  • Paying bills online through a mobile web browser or app (19%);
  • Making an online or in-app purchase (16%); and
  • Paying for a product or service at a store (11%).

For those not using mobile payments, the most oft-cited reasons were a greater ease in paying with cash or credit cards (75%), not seeing any benefits to using mobile payments (59%) and concern about the security of those payments (59%).

What does research say about marketing financial services to Millennials? Find out here.

Meanwhile, the use of mobile banking also grew on a year-over-year basis, although it surprisingly stalled among the youngest age group. Overall, 39% of respondents with a mobile phone and a bank account reported using mobile banking during the 12 months prior to the survey, up from 33% in the 2013 survey. While the percentage of 30-44-year-olds using mobile banking grew quickly (from 43% to 54%), the share of respondents aged 20-29 using them actually declined slightly, from 63% to 60%.

Hispanics (53%) continued to show above-average rates of mobile banking adoption, as did black non-Hispanics (43%).

Among mobile banking users, the following activities were the most commonly performed during the prior 12 months:

  • Checking an account balance or recent transactions (94%);
  • Downloading the bank’s mobile banking app on their mobile phone (71%);
  • Transferring money between bank accounts; and
  • Receiving an alert from the bank (57%).

As with mobile payments, those not using mobile banking most commonly cited a lack of reason to do so and concerns over its security.

Highlights from other recent mobile finance studies are listed below.

  • Almost one-quarter of US smartphone bank app users would pay $3 per month to use their bank’s mobile app, according to an SNL Financial survey.
  • Some 85% of iPhone 6 users had never tried Apple Pay as of March 2015, down from 91% in November 2014, per survey results from InfoScout and A separate survey from Baird Equity Research (reported here by MediaPost) comes to a very different conclusion, estimating that 40% of iPhone 6 owners have tried Apple Pay. Yet another survey, from Phoenix Marketing International (PMI), finds that two-thirds of iPhone 6 owners have set up the wallet, but that two-thirds of users encountered problems at checkout.
  • An earlier study from PMI indicates that there are more than 15 million households in the US who qualify as mP2P consumers. These consumers: are avid users of mobile devices for financial services and payments; own smartphones; have downloaded a mobile app from their primary bank; and have engaged in person-to-person payments. They tend to be affluent, educated, and are 300% more likely to be business owners. Notably, two-thirds are aged 33 or older.
  • Adult users of digital payment services (outside of PayPal) tend to be young, says GfK MRI, noting that they have a median age of 36. Men comprise 54% of the digital payment user market, while 25-34-year-olds account for 30% of users.

About the Data: The Federal Reserve data is based on a survey of 2,925 US adults (18+) fielded by GfK from December 5-21, 2014.

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