The rise of robust mobile technology is driving change in the payments landscape. As mobile banking has matured it has shifted from being a channel used to access information - such as viewing balances or statements - to a transactional channel, according to Expectations & Experiences, a quarterly consumer trends survey by Fiserv. The study identified notable shifts in the way people pay, driven in large part by mobile technology, and highlighted consumer expectations for secure, real-time transactions.

Among the 40 percent of consumers who used mobile banking within the 30 days prior to the survey - including 77 percent of early millennials - 51 percent reported that they use the service more now compared to the prior year. Among users of mobile bill pay, 47 percent said they use the service more now than a year ago. Among early millennials who use mobile banking or bill pay, changes in usage were more pronounced. Sixty-nine percent said they are using mobile banking more, and 59 percent said they are using mobile bill payment more compared to the prior year.

“Gone are the days when paying the bills meant sitting at the kitchen table with a calculator once a month,” said Mark Ernst, chief operating officer, Fiserv. “Consumers now pay on demand, wherever and whenever it suits them. As people make more payments from mobile banking, and become more comfortable doing so, this could be a bellwether for increases in other types of mobile payment activity, such as payments at the point of sale.”

Among mobile banking users, 47 percent reported using the service to pay for a product or service in the past month, 45 percent indicated they had transferred money between accounts at the same financial organization, and 37 percent had deposited a check. More mobile transactions contributed to mobile banking being the most heavily used banking channel, with the average user accessing mobile banking 8.4 times within a 30-day period. Online banking was the next most heavily used channel with the average user accessing online banking 8.1 times within a 30-day period.

Fingerprints Trump Passwords: Biometric Security Shows Promise

The perception of security plays a key role in whether consumers choose to adopt a technology. Biometric security appears to have the potential to provide people with greater assurance than more conventional measures. While 41 percent of consumers indicated they would feel secure using a password as an authentication method to confirm their identity when using a mobile app, 62 percent said they would feel secure using fingerprint technology. This could have significant implications for overcoming consumer security concerns related to mobile payment methods.

Furthering Payments Adoption and Use Requires Awareness and Capabilities

Awareness continues to be a primary challenge in the adoption and use of electronic payments. For example, a striking 41 percent of consumers did now know if their financial institution offers person-to-person (P2P) payment options. In addition, consumers noted that they don’t use the following services because they don’t know how they work: P2P (24 percent), mobile banking (20 percent), electronic bills (e-bills) (15 percent) and electronic bill pay (14 percent).

“In a world that’s moving faster than ever before, consumers are seeking payment services that are in step with the way they live and work,” said Ernst. “Financial institutions have an enormous opportunity to educate consumers, informing them of the diversity of products available, as well as their functionality.”

In addition to awareness and education, certain capabilities have significant potential to drive adoption and use of payment services. The most notable of these is real-time transactions. The desire for real-time transactions is apparent across all consumer segments, with consumers seeking same-day posting, real-time balances and instant alerts. Forty percent of early millennials who do not use P2P payment services say the ability to transfer funds to people in real-time would increase their use of these services.