Is The Answer to Growing Your P2P Business Already on Your Doorstep?

By Ravi Loganathan, Head of Business Intelligence at Early Warning

As you know, the person-to-person (P2P) payments space is booming with some analysts projecting it to be a $300 billion+ business.* To dig a little deeper on consumer adoption, use and attitudes toward P2P payments, Early Warning conducted a Digital Payments Adoption Study. It surveyed more than 9,000 U.S. consumers who own smartphones, are aware of P2P, and have accessed online or mobile banking. What we found is that all generations are changing banking behaviors and using P2P in their banking app - it is not just millennials.

Consumers of all ages are ready to try P2P

It is no surprise that younger consumers are using P2P payments in their everyday lives. But, older generations are also using P2P, thanks to P2P services that are easily found in their banking apps. 

As expected, seventy-five percent of Millennials have used online or mobile P2P payments. Generation X is a close second at sixty-nine percent and Baby Boomers are not far behind at fifty-one percent. And, how often are these generations using P2P? Forty-nine percent of Millennials use P2P payment services at least once a week, followed by forty-two percent of Generation X and thirty-two percent of Boomers.

The findings also show that using digital banking (i.e. transacting through online banking or on the mobile device) is an indicator that consumers are open to using P2P. For Boomers and Generation X, digital banking use predates P2P use by at least one year according to the study. Banks have an active consumer base online and in mobile. Therefore, they have an opportunity to introduce P2P to older generations.

There has been a lot of focus on the use of P2P and younger generations, but clearly this study shows that older generations have an interest in it too. Banks should continue to use their online and mobile channels to raise awareness on the convenience and safety of P2P; this will help older generation become more comfortable with changing their payment behavior and using P2P. With more than half of Boomers and sixty-nine percent of Generation X having used a P2P payment service, it is clear that P2P transcends generations. Traditional marketing approaches that typically focus on Millennials may need to be reconsidered or expanded to reach a broader audience.

Security is the Key to the Front Door

Consumers point to trust in their bank as one of the primary reasons for using P2P payments. Boomers rank it the number one feature they consider in a P2P service (Generation X places it third and Millennials fifth).

Consumers consider finances to be personal. They are uncomfortable with their financial data being in other places besides their banks as they don’t want to add any incremental risk for fraud. In fact, seventy-percent of Baby Boomers said they first tried a P2P service because it was offered through their financial institution. Finding a service that provides a baseline of safety for all generations is key to continued adoption and use. This is a key selling point for banks. Consumers like that products, such as Zelle®, use unique tokens and that their banking information is not shared.

All generations are primed to move toward digital payments regardless of age. The question now is how do you get them to engage and change banking behavior? We suggest, based on the survey results, that banks use the channels that each generation is currently active on, such as mobile or online banking, to talk to them about the ease and safety of P2P, and educate consumers on the different use cases that are relevant to them. They are ready to try fast, safe and easy services like Zelle®.


The study was based upon a twenty-minute self-contained digital survey that was administered online in April 2018, to a total of 9,229 consumers ages 18-65, with a high school degree or higher. Participants owned a smartphone, sent or received money by any means, and used online or mobile banking in the past six months. Interviews were conducted in two phases: an initial phase that included baseline metrics from surveyed online U.S. consumers, and a post-qualifying phase including detailed behavior and attitudinal data.

About the Author

Ravi Loganathan leads the Business Intelligence function at Early Warning. Loganathan has more than 20 years of experience in financial services and management consulting sectors. Loganathan has a B.S. in Political Science and Economics from Temple University and an M.A. in Public Policy from the University of Chicago. He currently volunteers as a seed consultant at Stanford University’s Institute for Innovation in Developing Economies and at the Habitat for Humanity.


*Source: “Digital P2P Payments in the U.S. A Strong Growth Game Report,” Aite Group, March 2017.

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