Zelle: First Time P2P Mobile Payments Users Increasingly Older

March 7, 2019         By: Steven Anderson

When it comes to the typical peer-to-peer (P2P) mobile payments user, who do you commonly picture? Your grandpa, or your little brother? Most would likely think of their little brother first. If you were to ask your grandpa, though, he might reveal that he recently picked up the habit according to an Early Warning study sent our way.

The Early Warning study found that half of all first-time P2P transaction users are at least 45 years old. The older folks are increasingly getting into the market because they’re finding the concept a lot more safer and more trustworthy than ever before, which is meshing up nicely with the earlier-established precepts like convenience.

There are still variances based on age here, though; the Gen X portion of the market turned in a “trust” rate of 52 percent, while the boomers turned in a 46 percent rate. Yet both put high levels of trust in a P2P app “offered through a financial institution they use.” Such rates were 76 percent for Gen X and 74 percent for the baby boomers.  

Such news was almost certainly welcome for Zelle, which is itself primarily a banking institution offering. Tools like Venmo likely wouldn’t even show up on such users’ collective radar, which means a big slug of market tailor-made for Zelle to pursue.

As good of news as this is for Zelle—and by extension Early Warning—there’s good news here for the mobile payments sector as well. It’s clear that, after years of struggle and trial and nigh-constant fighting, that people trust mobile payments. Well, more like “trust mobile payments that are offered by a bank they already frequent and may possibly have frequented for years.” The banks have long had an edge in their name recognition and overall perception; one of the first things people think of when they think of banks is “big metal door”. Banks are security to many, and so using a P2P tool offered by a bank would be seen as safer.

This may be just what banks need to get more completely into the mobile payments space; P2P is one thing, but there’s a lot more potential business out there. For the older market, going through a bank may be just the way to go.