Innovations in Consumer Fintech

Mobile Payment Solutions, Person-to-Person Apps and the Latest Fads from Crypto to NFTs

Most of today’s consumers have adopted convenient methods to pay for goods and services and transfer money with their phones, but cutting-edge financial services (ranging from “buy now, pay later” to NFT’s) face adoption barriers in the form of low awareness and fear. The National Technology Readiness Survey (NTRS) 2022, conducted by Rockbridge Associates, examined the types of FinTech solutions consumers use and explored sentiment toward innovations that are not widely known by the public.

Mobile payment services allow consumers to consolidate their credit/debit cards on their smartphones so they can use it as a mobile payment device. Nearly two-thirds of consumers (62%) currently use some form of a mobile payment app on their phones, but younger consumers ages 18-34 are more than twice as likely to use a mobile payment service on their device than older consumers age 55+ (87% vs. 36%). While many payment solutions are available, the market is dominated by PayPal (70%) and Apple Pay (38%).

Mobile payment services can be used online or in person.  For example, a consumer may order a meal to be delivered to their home and pay with their phone, or they may dine at a restaurant and use an app like PayPal to pay in-person.  Consumers use a mobile payment service for most of their online purchases (66% indicate they do so always or most of the time), with little variation between gender, age, and education groups.  The frequency of using mobile payment services for in-person transactions is less, but still substantial with nearly half (48%) using the services always or most of the time.  Males and younger consumers with mobile payment services use them often for in-person purchases than other consumers.
While most consumers use mobile apps for commerce, an even greater number use them for transferring funds to other consumers.  A person can use mobile apps to pay their way during a night on the town, or they can let a friend or family member cover the check and pay them back later with a person-to-person payment app. Person-to-person payment services allow consumers to send funds online from their bank account to another person via the internet or with a mobile device. Nearly three-quarters (74%) of consumers use a person-to-person payment service, a greater share than those who use mobile payment services. The usage is higher among younger consumers (87% among those 18 – 34 years old, 83% among those 35 – 54 years old, but only 56% among those 55 and older) but usage does not differ based on gender or education. Of consumers who currently use a person-to-person payment service, PayPal is the most used (78%), followed by Cash App (38%) and Venmo (34%).  Older consumers ages 55+ are more likely to use PayPal (84%) while younger consumers ages 18-34 are more likely to use Cash App (53%).

Consumers are not as quick to jump on the bandwagon when it comes to using their money with more cutting-edge fintech innovations.  When we asked consumers whether they were “excited” or “scared” about six different innovations, we found they were most positive about fintech technologies for which they had the greatest familiarity.  For instance, consumers are widely familiar with Buy Now, Pay Later, “an arrangement where you get ownership of merchandise immediately, but are obligated to pay at a later date” (only 15% can’t express feelings about the technology).  The share of consumers who are “excited” about Buy Now, Pay Later far exceeds the share who are ”scared” (41% versus 10%).  Consumers also tend to be familiar with a Digital Wallet, “an app that runs exclusively on mobile phones that can be used for transactions,” while nearly half (48%) are “excited” about it compared to only 8% who are “scared”.  Consumers have the lowest awareness and least enthusiasm for Artificial Intelligence Bank Agents, Cryptocurrency and Non-fungible Bank Tokens (NFTs).

Summing it up, Person-to-Person and Mobile Payment apps are widely used and changing the way consumers manage their spending when they transact online and offline. The future is promising for technologies that consumers understand and trust, including Digital Wallets and Buy Now, Pay Later, but more obscure technologies like Crypto and NFTs face headwinds because of low awareness and lack of enthusiasm. Events in the news, such as the FTX Crypto collapse which took place after the current survey, will no doubt exacerbate distrust about the newest fads.

About the Study: the National Technology Readiness has tracked technology and e-commerce trends since 1999. The survey is co-sponsored by Rockbridge Associates, Inc. and the Responsible Business Coalition at Fordham University’s Gabelli School of Business. The most recent wave was conducted in June 2022 and is based on an online survey of 1040 U.S. adults sampled at random from a consumer research panel. Results are weighted to match census characteristics. For more information, contact

Written by: Devina Caruthers, Senior Manager & Charles Colby, Chief Methodologist