Payment Apps Mark Generation

Check books giving way to Venmo

The generation gap used to be measured by long hair and loud music.  Today the generation gap is digital.  Where people used to share payment methods like credit cards and check books, today's millennials prefer to use mobile apps.

"It's just a simpler, smoother transition is what this generation is really looking for," said San Diego State marketing professor Steven Osinski.  He says peer to peer payment apps like Venmo, Square Cash, PayPal and Google Wallet are the popular method to exchange money.

"Literally in the past year Venmo has gone from over $700 million in transactions to over $2 billion in transactions," said Osinski.

In his classroom of about 50 students, a show of hands show at least 90% of the students use some sort of mobile phone payment app.  Jason Melman is one of them.

"Like go to Chipotle and I don't bring my credit card and my friend buys me it, I 'Venmo' him the money," said Melman.

David Lin-Cesena says he uses his phone all the time to make payments to friends and some smaller businesses that accept Venmo.  Holding a phone Lin-Cesena says: "As long as I have power it's like having a bank right there."

Many of these phone apps have been available for many years.  But it's millennial age consumers that seems to be early adopters.  

"It makes things more efficient and faster," said Osinski, "and by tying it all into our phone it makes it simpler for the user."

But when it's easier to spend money, is it easy to get into debt?

Certified Financial Planner and author of Work Your Wealth, Mary Beth Storjohann, says apps like this make it easier to spend.

"When you use an app to keep track of your money, when you are transferring funds to different accounts, it's hard to understand where your money is going," said Storjohann.

Weigh in on the issue at Consumer Bob on Facebook.

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