Millennials Need for Speed Spikes Instant Payouts

The popularity of instant payouts has grown in recent years.

In 2017, only about 4% of disbursements were paid instantly; as of January, 32% of payments were delivered instantly, according to the PYMNTS Intelligence report “Measuring Consumers’ Growing Interest in Instant Payouts.”

One reason is that consumers looking for disbursements — paychecks, government payments, insurance settlements, investment earnings — want their money quickly. The report, which was based on surveys of 3,898 U.S. consumers, found that 77% of respondents opt for instant payouts when given the option.

Many now have that option. As of January, 32% of disbursements were paid out using instant methods, up from 29% a year ago. This uptick is due primarily to the growing number of businesses and entities identifying instant payouts as the only option to receive funds. About 10% of disbursement receivers have no choice but to accept an instant payout.

For those who are still skeptical about instant payouts (even if given the option), 48% said their primary concern is data security. However, even those concerns are subsiding. Today 17% fewer consumers have security concerns regarding their instant disbursements than did in 2021.

Share of consumers receiving instant disbursements

How else has public sentiment evolved around instant disbursements? According to exclusive PYMNTS Intelligence, as of late 2018, baby boomers and seniors were the least likely to use instant payments, with fewer than 10% receiving them. Generation Z consumers, meanwhile, received more instant payouts at the time — slightly more than 1 in 5.

Jump forward to 2024, and it’s clear that instant payouts have become more popular. Nearly 34% of baby boomers and seniors now receive disbursements mostly through instant methods, exceeding even the 32% of Gen Z consumers who are generally getting their disbursements instantly. (Although to be fair, older demographics likely get more investment distributions and government payouts than their younger counterparts.)

But it’s millennials who are driving the increase in instant payouts. Thirty-seven percent of them now get disbursements instantly — more than any other way. This finding could reflect the fact that they were early adopters; nearly as many millennials (19%) were on board with instant payments in 2018 as Gen Zers (22%).

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