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Wednesday, December 13 Business

Report: Most millennials use apps to transfer money

Paying friends and family with cash or checks is going by the wayside as the majority of millennials use an online or mobile platform, according to a recent study commissioned by Bank of America.

Based on the bank’s Trends in Consumer Mobility Report, more than 60 percent of millennials and 36 percent of adults use so-called person-to-person payment services, such as PayPal, Square Cash or Venmo. Several banks, including Bank of America, have introduced person-to-person payment service Zelle into their mobile banking apps, which allows users to send and request money.

These sorts of features, along with mobile budgeting tools, are a focus for Bank of America as it attempts to remain at the forefront of banking technology, according to its head of digital banking Michelle Moore.

Social media apps like Facebook and Instagram are the real competition for the bank’s mobile banking offerings, she added.

“What apps do you use every day?” Moore asked during an interview with Hearst Connecticut Media. “I read our app store feedback every day. I want to know how we compete with the likes of Facebook, Google and Twitter because that’s what customers are comparing us to.”

Customers may someday use Bank of America’s mobile app as they do their social media ones eventually, Moore said. “We’re constantly looking to stay competitive by focusing not on transactions but on adding value to customers’ lives so they want to log into our app, just like they do Facebook.”

Following the bank’s introduction of Zelle in February, it plans to continue rolling out mobile banking tools that keep users engaged, Moore said, including ways to help clients pay bills and lower debt.

The expanding role of mobile banking means Bank of America is also changing the way its brick-and-mortar locations, such as its prime spot on Greenwich Avenue in Greenwich, interact with clients, she said. “We’re evolving so our financial institutions are destinations where we can chat with clients about major life choices,” Moore said.

Meanwhile, many of the recurring transactions are instead occurring via mobile and web apps. Bank of America’s recent report shows people are using mobile apps to pay each other for anything and everything — from coffee and drinks to rent and vacation bills.

The report also tracks people’s views on what they believe is socially acceptable to pay for using an app as well as how comfortable they are transferring money that way.

More than half of the 1,000 respondents surveyed through an online format said they would request a payment from others for something as low as $5 or less. More than 40 percent said they felt comfortable sending someone more than $1,000 via person-to-person payments.

The report also registered society’s waning use of checks as 70 percent said they don’t believe young children would ever know how to write a check and 40 percent added they likely won’t even use physical credit cards.

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Looking ahead to how banks would adapt to customers fusing technology with their banking habits, Moore said artificial intelligence will shape the future.

“We’re constantly looking to reinvent ourselves and stay competitive,” she said.

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