Older Millennials More Likely to Want to Use Smartphone Camera for Authentication

That millennials love the cameras on their smartphones and that businesses are looking for a way to leverage that attachment is not surprising. The potential for its application in the online payment authentication space is currently being explored by companies like Mastercard, Amazon and Alibaba. The number of millennials currently using the camera on their phone to authenticate purchases is low—only four percent, according to a new report from Osterman Research commissioned by authentication provider Mitek. Forty-six percent, however, said they would like to. The study found similar numbers in this important demographic when considering using selfies to identify themselves (6 percent currently, 39 percent want to) or to enroll in new accounts (5 percent and 31 percent).

The surprise came when the research looked at different groups within the millennial category. The oldest segment (29 to 34 years old) engaged with the cameras on their phones more than the younger groups (18 to 22 years old and 23 to 28 years old). The research found that, as millennials age, an increasing proportion feel that the camera is the most important function on their phone. According to Kalle Marsal, CMO of Mitek, this presents a lucrative opportunity for the payments industry.

“We had expected to see the reverse,” Marsal said. “It may be that the older millennials have started families and have embraced the camera on their phone as their primary camera. It’s important not to view the entire generation as one big homogeneous group. And, there is clearly a very big unmet demand for advanced capabilities on their phones like using selfies to authorize a purchase. As millennials age and their discretionary income increases, the mobile experience—and the quality of that experience—becomes more important to them.”