Zelle® Study Finds Growing Use of Digital Payments Across Generations

Zelle® Study Finds Growing Use of Digital Payments Across Generations

Scottsdale, AZ

Top Use Cases for Millennials, Generation X, and Boomers Driving Adoption Include Rent, Meals & Shared Utility Bills

Early Warning Services, LLC, the network operator behind Zelle, today released the results of its first Digital Payments Adoption Study (“study”). To track consumer adoption, use, and attitudes toward digital payments, the study surveyed more than 9,000 U.S. consumers who are aware of P2P, own smartphones and have accessed online or mobile banking.

The study found that adoption and usage of digital person-to-person (P2P) payments are high among all generations, with consumers pointing to trust in friends and family and trust in their financial institutions as the primary reasons for engaging in a digital payment.  Boomers ranked trust in financial institutions as the most important influence on engaging in a digital payment, while Millennials and Generation X ranked recommendations from friends/family/peers as their primary influence.

“Trust is at the heart of the consumer payment relationship,” said Ravi Loganathan, Head of Business Intelligence at Early Warning Services. “Our research showed that new segments of consumers engaged in a P2P payment for the first time because it was offered from their known and trusted mobile banking environment or it came recommended by friends, family, or peers.”

Try It. You’ll Like It.

Although digital P2P adoption first caught on with Millennials, adoption of P2P services continue to be popular among all generations. Of those surveyed, more than 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 closing in at fifty-one percent.

Those who already have P2P are using it frequently, indicating P2P is becoming part of routine banking behavior. 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.

Trust in Transactions Starts with Trust in Your Friends and Family or Trust in Your Bank

Sixty-eight percent of Millennials and sixty-six percent of Generation X identified recommendations from friends and family referrals as the primary reason for trying a P2P payments service. For Boomers, trust in financial institutions was cited as the key reason for changing payments behavior from physical cash and checks to digital P2P payments. A service being “offered through a financial institution I use” was found to be a significant motivator for using digital P2P payments for the first time amongst older users, with seventy percent of Boomers reporting they used a P2P service because it was offered by their bank, versus forty-nine percent of Generation X and thirty-five percent of Millennials. The findings suggest that consumers want a secure, easy to use service right from their online banking and/or mobile banking app that is recommended by friends and family who use the service.

Security was also identified as a “very important” feature for an ideal P2P service across all generations. Boomers ranked it the number one feature, while Gen X placed it third and Millennials fifth out of thirteen choices, such as having social features or app reviews. Consumers cited accessing financial information online outside of their financial institutions’ platforms as one of the top barriers to using digital payment services.

Rent, Splitting Bills and Gifting Top P2P Use Cases

And, what are they using these services for? After reviewing the memo fields used on transactions across the Zelle Network®, it was determined that the top reasons for use in banking apps over a six-month period were rent, meals, splitting utility bills, and gifting.


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 were aware of P2P, 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.

Are you interested in learning more?

To download a copy of this quarter’s Early Warning Digital Payments Tracker, click the button below.

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About Zelle®

Brought to you by Early Warning Services, LLC, an innovator in payment and risk management solutions, Zelle® makes it easy, fast and safe for money to move. The Zelle Network® connects the nation’s leading financial institutions, enabling consumers to send fast person-to-person payments to friends and family with a bank account in the U.S. Funds are available directly in consumer bank accounts generally within minutes when the recipient is already enrolled with Zelle®. To learn more about Zelle® and its participating financial institutions, visit https://www.zellepay.com.


About Early Warning Services, LLC

Creating the Future of Payments™ - Early Warning delivers innovative payment and risk solutions to financial institutions nationwide.  For over 25 years, Early Warning has been a leader in technology that helps money move easy, fast and safe. Learn more at earlywarning.com. 


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Zelle® and the Zelle® related marks are wholly owned by Early Warning Services, LLC.