The kids are ditching their physical wallets in favor of mobile payments

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Young people are increasingly favouring mobile payment apps over traditional payment methods, according to research from card issuing platform Marqeta.

The company surveyed 4,000 consumers across three continents, including 1,000 UK respondent, and found  the majority (61%) feel confident enough with contactless payments to leave their wallet at home and just take their phone, a figure that rises to over three quarters for UK Gen Z respondents.

Almost all (96%) UK consumers surveyed have used contactless in the last year, according to Marqeta’s research. What's more, 42% of UK respondents say it’s been so long since they used anything except contactless, they can’t even remember their PIN anymore - a figure that rises to 54% for those aged under 24.

Changing attitudes

The Marqeta research also highlighted the death of in-person banking among younger generations.

Almost half of UK consumers surveyed said they can count on their hands how many times they’ve used a bank branch in their lifetime, while 50% of 18 to 24-year-olds say the idea of going into a physical bank is completely backward and alien to them.

Nearly two-thirds (63%) of the respondents believe cash will eventually disappear altogether, while 59% think this will happen in the next five to ten years. And a third - said that it would have no impact on their lives if all physical bank branches were to close tomorrow.

Despite the decline of in-person banking experiences, most people are in a long-term relationship with their primary bank according to Marqeta. Six in ten consumers surveyed have been with their bank for more than six years, with 38% staying loyal to their primary bank for over a decade.

In addition, it seems that UK consumers have some appetite for innovation in terms of payments gateways, and Marqeta’s research found that consumers have an open attitude towards cryptocurrency.

More than a quarter (26%) of UK consumers surveyed now own crypto, and 82% of these are keen to use it like a debit card at the point of sale.

“The age of the bulky physical wallet might be moving behind into the rearview, confidence in mobile wallets is growing, and people feel increasingly comfortable that their mobile phone can handle their payment needs and not leave them stranded,” said Anna Porra, European Strategy Director at Marqeta. “While the shift to digital payments was born out of necessity, many are happy to completely step away from in-person banking.”

“And it’s easy to see why – with long queues, inconvenient opening hours, and hygiene concerns particularly during the pandemic creating the perfect storm to shift consumer appetite away from in-person experiences that weren’t very popular to begin with.”

She added: “With physical branches closing at unprecedented rates, banks must ensure they adapt their products and services to operate online seamlessly.”

Will McCurdy has been writing about technology for over five years. He has a wide range of specialities including cybersecurity, fintech, cryptocurrencies, blockchain, cloud computing, payments, artificial intelligence, retail technology, and venture capital investment. He has previously written for AltFi, FStech, Retail Systems, and National Technology News and is an experienced podcast and webinar host, as well as an avid long-form feature writer.