The Problems With P2P Mobile Payments

March 30, 2018         By: Steven Anderson

Go beyond Venmo and Zelle, and the peer-to-peer (P2P) mobile payments market doesn’t look rosy. While those two are doing fairly well, the same can’t be said for the rest of the field. So what’s going on in the wider market that’s keeping people out, unless it’s with one of the two front-runners?

In some spots, the P2P market is very real and very vibrant; Zelle so far has moved over $75 billion since its launch, and there’s word that venture capital operations are looking to move into the P2P space and start making some competitors.

However, these plans are hampered by the reality that no one’s really using P2P. Seventy-one percent of consumers report that they have no experience at all using P2P. Worse, of that 71 percent, 46 percent haven’t actually tried it, and 25 percent have never even heard of the concept.

Naturally, the millennials lead the way here. Forty-five percent of surveyed users from 25 to 34 have used P2P, while 42 percent of those aged 18 to 24 have done likewise. The 35  to 44 market joins in at 37 percent. The numbers fall off from there, down to just 12 percent of the over-65 market.

However, the market as presented is likely to remain; just seven percent of users considered themselves “very likely” to use a P2P service in the next year. By comparison, 35 percent were “somewhat likely,” and 40 percent were “not at all likely.”

The silver lining to this is that it may be easier to land new clients than expected. With 25 percent having never even heard of P2P mobile payments, it may be just as easy as a few decent marketing campaigns to enlighten the user base and get it on board. A big new slug of users like that would go a long way toward helping. Considering how many users have never even tried it, just getting a few of them interested should be a help, and a few incentives geared toward drawing in return visits shouldn’t go amiss.

Improved security, better options, some rewards, and even just greater awareness could help drive the P2P market forward. Still, it’s clear that the market won’t take off on its own, not at the current rates.