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In the past several years, payment apps, digital wallets and contactless payments have become increasingly popular with the older members of Generation Z (18-25). This generation is the first that is truly mobile-native. Generation Z could even be called the smartphone generation, as Gen Zers account for almost 40% of mobile phone users

Although Gen Zers use cash more than members of other generations, most of them also use digital payment apps. Gen Zers use peer-to-peer payment apps (76%) and digital payment apps (73%) more than people in other age groups. And 99% of Gen Zers use mobile banking apps for a number of tasks like depositing checks, checking account balances, and checking credit scores. 

More College Students Using Mobile Banking/Payment Apps

The results of a recent survey by global payments company TouchNet aligned with these statistics. According to TouchNet’s third annual survey, the percentage of college students — most of whom are Gen Zers — using mobile banking and payment apps is also increasing.

In fact, 93% of students said that they’ve used digital payments about the same or more often than the previous year. This represents an increase of 6% over two years. Almost three-quarters (72%) said they use smartphone apps to make payments. Additionally, 80% stated that they use mobile banking to pay bills or transfer money, up 7% since 2020. And 73% percent of students said they use mobile banking to make deposits.

College students typically believe apps are the easiest way to make payments. They also feel secure using known/major digital payment companies.

In addition to mobile banking, more students reported using digital wallets, such as Google Wallet and Apple Wallet. One quarter (25%) of students using Apple Pay sometimes or often — a 56% increase year over year. The percentage of students using Google Pay doubled year over year to 12%.

The increased use of mobile banking and payment apps by college students indicates that higher education students are comfortable with and would rather use digital payment methods if they’re available, according to Adam McDonald, TouchNet’s president.

Students Unaware They Can Use Campus Apps for Payments

However, although 67% of college students said that it’s important to make and manage payments via their schools’ apps, only 23% said that they actually use their campus’ apps to make payments. This is likely because they aren’t aware that doing so is even an option, according to McDonald.

“Unfortunately, we find that students may not be aware of features that allow them to make payments directly from their campus app, or their institution hasn’t enabled those functions,” he said.

The survey results back up his assessment, as only 36% of students reported knowing that they could pay for things through a campus app.

As such, McDonald encourages institutions of higher education to enable mobile transactions across the campus experience, because students want the ability to conduct everyday financial transactions and banking via smartphones and other mobile devices.

“Universities and colleges need to be prepared to meet student expectations when it comes to how they pay for things,” McDonald said.

Arrow Payments can help you get prepared. Reach out today for a free consultation and see how we can help you fine-tune your payment systems to meet evolving student needs.

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