With mobile payments propositions launching thick and fast – Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, Android Pay, Zapp to name a few, how can banks and other payment service providers (PSPs) ensure that these propositions are adopted quickly, and what can they do to increase their chances of commercial success?

In an academic behavioural research study, Accenture commissioned a group of final year students at the University of Bath to understand the key drivers and motivational factors behind 18-24 years olds’ acceptance and use of digital payments.

Using a combination of empirical evidence gathered through targeted surveys and rigorous application of academic theory, we have uncovered six insights that are particularly interesting:

1. Frequent successful usage will reduce perceptions of risk over time

Consumers will always perceive risks with new payment propositions, but these perceptions largely disappear with increased usage – therefore PSPs should have strategies to incentivise consumers to frequently use a new proposition, rather than just on growing the number of consumers who try it. However, the perception of risks does not disappear entirely – for example the loss of a smartphone or contactless card, or the interception of data, so PSPs need to demonstrate to consumers that these risks are minimised and addressed by the PSP if they occur.

2. The first impression is vital to building consumer trust

Trust is the factor with the second highest influence on young consumers’ behavioural intention to use digital payments. The level of trust increased over time in the experimental groups using PayPal and Paym (a UK mobile P2P payments system using real-time payments), while that in the control group (using only contactless payments) remained static. The research results suggest that social influence (i.e. recommendations among peers) significantly affects consumers’ initial trust in new digital payment services, especially with an embryonic service at a relatively immature stage.

3. Don’t underestimate the importance of impeccable performance

‘Performance expectancy’ is the most influential driver behind young consumers’ behavioural intention to accept and use digital payments. It is essential that products and services are useful in a given context, save time or increase productivity, and always work – if a digital payments proposition isn’t useful or does not work consistently, consumers will reject it.

4. Re-engage experienced and loyal customers

As young consumers become more accustomed and familiar with using digital payments, the novelty wears off and the fun they derive from it fades away. It is therefore important to keep these consumers engaged by regularly updating and refreshing the payment proposition, for example by adding new features and functions, or enabling new uses for it. A key message is here is that keeping existing customers engaged is as important, or perhaps even more important than finding new customers.

5. Tailor the approach to mark  eting, segmented by gender

There are clear differences between the main behavioural influencers for males and females, with males being far more affected by social influence and performance expectancy than females, and females being more influenced by trust and perceived risk than males.

6. Focus on customer self-service and self-proficiency, in preference to customer support services

In deciding to adopt and use digital payments, the young consumers in our study were far more influenced by the novelty and enjoyment of the user experience than by factors such as customer service. Their proficiency and self-sufficiency in using digital payments make customer support services less relevant to them.

We believe the findings from this study will help PSPs and banks to develop winning strategies for influencing consumers to adopt digital payment solutions.

To support this objective, we created a “digital payments acceptance and use framework” that pinpoints the key behavioural influencers supported by the research.

View the image.
View the image.

We have made this framework publicly available so existing and potential PSPs and banks can consult it when designing and developing digital payment service propositions. This framework is underpinned by academic theory and has been validated through empirical rigour from quantitative testing.

The research also highlighted the importance of social media in influencing young consumers to try out and adopt new payment propositions, and recommend them to others. And it highlighted that young consumers love digital payment propositions – there was an unambiguous increase in usage and trust and drastic reductions in perceived risk among those who were introduced to Paym and PayPal in the research.

Learn more about what drives digital payments adoption among the UK’s youth including key implications and opportunities for PSPs and banks in digital payments.

In closing, I’d like to acknowledge Kim Berg, senior manager, Accenture Payment Services, who has been leading the collaboration with the University of Bath team including Dan Keene, Euan Mackenzie, Harrison George, Lauren Faulkes, Tom Dewhurtst and Tom Simpson.

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