Millennials are waiting for the ‘uber moment’ of payments


  • Only a quarter of UK millennials are using mobile payments technology
  • One in five European millennials who have attempted to use mobile payment technology have abandoned it
  • The majority of UK millennials are more likely to use their own bank’s mobile payments service

Whether it is Uber or Snapchat, it is no secret that millennials hold the key to the success or failure of digital innovation, often embracing new solutions en masse or rejecting them at pace. Research released today by VocaLink, the global payment partner to banks, corporates and governments, reveals that the latest technology being developed in the payments sector is yet to win favour with the millennial audience, with the majority of 18-35 year olds turning to their bank for payment solutions. The European-focused research is the second part of VocaLink’s global report, “The Millennial Influence”, examining the payments behaviour of millennials across the globe.

The research has shown that European millennials have an appetite for innovation in the payments sector but are yet to find a solution that both meets their needs and is significantly superior to existing payment methods. For example, fifty-five percent of German millennials have never used mobile payment technology and products such as Apple Pay in the UK have had a surprisingly low uptake level with only 2% of those surveyed actively using the service.

Cara O’Nions, Director of Marketing and Customer Insights at VocaLink commented, “The millennial generation is quite rightly pushing the payments industry to drive high quality innovation, currently dissatisfied with what is available today. While payment preferences differ across the world, our research shows that in nearly all cases millennials are consistently looking for substance over style - technology that is seamless and secure and allows them to make payments instantly.”

At this moment in time, it would seem millennials are still following their parent’s lead when it comes to making payments, using methods that they know and trust. So while attitudinally millennials may be game-changers, the research shows that more conservative behaviours are evident when it comes to making payments. In Germany, they still have a reliance on cash, with 70% of Germans paying for groceries in cash vs 61% on card. In Italy, 28% of

millennials are regularly depositing cheques, second still to the US, where 70% of people use cheques regularly. The UK are ahead of the curve when it comes to the use of cheques but this audience are still not fully embracing mobile payment technology, as only a quarter of UK millennials are using mobile payments technology.

In the UK, 58% of millennials would prefer to use a mobile payment service provided by their bank, followed by PayPal with 49%. This same trend was followed in The Netherlands but reversed in Germany and Italy, where PayPal topped the list of potential providers – a service that many millennials have grown up with and therefore see on par with their bank.

Cara O’nions continued: “Payments are a core and critical part of everyday life and it is clear that this group have set the bar high in terms of expectations, and will only embrace new payment technology that can demonstrate ubiquity, speed, ease of use and security. It is particularly interesting to see that millennials would prefer to remain with traditional payment providers while they are waiting for advancements in the market, and if they were to consider mobile payments in the future, the majority would prefer that this was offered by their bank.”

The European study, follows the launch of the US millennials report published last week, which supported a similar viewpoint, with 70% of US millennials more likely to use a new mobile payment service if it was provided by their own bank, rather than an alternative payment service provider, echoing the sentiment amongst European millennials. Furthermore, when it came to biometrics, the millennials in the US were even more enthusiastic, with 67% opting for fingerprint recognition to make payments in the future, an unexpected statistic, when considering 87% of them have deposited a cheque in the last twelve months, it is by all means an archaic way of paying in Europe. The Europeans, were a little more cautious when it came to biometrics, with less than half of British and German millennials (42%) agreeing that they would use eye scans to verify payments, which would suggest that there’s an appetite for this type of technology, but there is still some reticence.

Across both markets, speed is key, with more than half of people from all four of the European countries surveyed agreeing that they would like to be able to make instant payments, regardless of who they bank with. This was also echoed in the US, where the figure was up to almost three quarters agreed with the same statement.

For this report (part of a global study undertaken by VocaLink into the attitudes of millennials towards payment services) over 4,000 millennials across Germany, Italy, The Netherlands and the UK were surveyed. They were asked questions about their current banking

behaviour, use of payments technology and what services payments providers should offer in the future.

For more information, or to request a copy of the report, please contact

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Emma Harvey, Seven Consultancy / 07976 635 366

Ellie Fixter, VocaLink / 07808 885 436


Notes to Editors

This research has been conducted in partnership with Ipsos MORI and has been commissioned by VocaLink.


About VocaLink

We’re VocaLink. A global payments partner to banks, corporates and governments. We design, build and operate world-class payment systems.

We believe that sustainable economies are powered by easy access to and movement of money. Our award-winning platforms and payment industry expertise make it easier for people to make payments confidently and securely. Last year we processed over 11 billion transactions with a value of £6 trillion. In the UK, we process over 90% of salaries, more than 70% of household bills and almost all state benefits. Every business and person in the UK benefits from our technology.

In the UK, our high availability, resilient payment systems power the Faster Payments Service on behalf of the Faster Payments Scheme, the Account Switching platform, Bacs and the Direct Debit Scheme. We also connect the world’s busiest network of over 70,000 ATMs through the LINK scheme.

Our proven capability of implementing real-time payment systems in the UK has led to the development of immediate payment solutions for other countries such as Singapore and the United States. Our vision is to be the leading real-time payment infrastructure provider globally, creating a positive impact on society by shaping the payments landscape worldwide.

Our approach to designing world-class payment systems is driven by the voice of our customers. Their needs are at the centre of everything we do and we strive to deliver a flawless experience every single time.

We’re VocaLink. Powering economies, empowering people.

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