Americans don't write as many checks as they used to, but they're not yet ready to turn their financial lives over to their cell phone provider. Those results headline a new study commissioned by American Express and involving 1,600 American consumers. Researchers found that younger Americans drive new technology adoption, but older Americans' fears around account security could hinder the adoption of new payment tools.
Half of Americans write fewer checks than five years ago, with one in four Americans abandoning checks in favor of debit and credit cards, according to study's results. Thirty-nine percent of respondents told researchers that they used debit cards more, while 30 percent have increased use of online bill payment. Only 19 percent of the study participants felt they could use prepaid debit cards as budgeting tools, with most respondents criticizing the card's fees and their stigma as a tool for consumers with bad credit.
Americans trust credit card issuers over cell phone providers
The study also revealed that 62 percent of Americans would prefer new payment methods from trusted financial institutions, instead of from social media websites or wireless communication providers. Researchers explored hypothetical new products from companies like Facebook, Verizon and Google. Seventy-five percent of respondents expressed faith that established financial services know how to maintain account security, while a slightly higher percentage believe that alternative payment systems haven't yet worked through potential security holes.
Consumers over the age of 45 don't connect online as much as Millennials (often considered to be people born in the 1980s and 1990s), but both age groups will set the standards for the next generation of secure payment systems. According to American Express spokesman Dan Schulman, the survey results validate the work his company has pursued regarding online security and new payment technology. "Millennials will be key to the success of online and mobile payments, but above all else, the research shows that consumers want their payment tools to be safe and secure," Schulman said in a statement to reporters.