Top 10 takeaways: Payment Models for Millennial Minds Event


Last Wednesday, Fonix and Three brought together a host of exciting brands for a breakfast event at Heddon Street Kitchen.

The focus of the morning was payment models for millennial minds — presentations from Three, Bookchoice, Peak and Wuntu were centred around getting to grips with what millennials really want when it comes to making payments.

With a lively panel debate (featuring delegates from Mobilesquared, Onedox, ECOMMPAY, Hopster and NeuLion), tasty bacon sandwiches and even some surprise entertainment, it was a memorable morning. Here are our top ten takeaways from the event:

1. Make millennials your target

Peter Bellamy, Senior Vice President at NeuLion mentioned that when looking at the services that they run, the younger generation was easily the most skewed towards adopting carrier billing whilst older generations such as Gen X were more likely to opt for credit card payments or PayPal. Clearly, services that are popular among millennials are where opportunity lies for mobile operator billing.

2. Millennials want things now

Chris Gibson, Strategic Insight Lead at Three, made the point that millennials want things on demand and on their terms, which is why the frictionless nature of carrier billing could be so appropriate to them. This attitude can be best illustrated by their relationship with on demand services like Deliveroo, Uber and Netflix which have been most popular amongst millennials since their conception.

3. Educating consumers

Chris also argued that that the mobile operators specifically had a role to play when it comes to educating consumers about carrier billing. He said that they should be promoting it as a secure, easy payment method that was approved by them.

4. Carrier billing is the preferred payment method

Andreea Papillon, Product Manager at Peak, told us about a Peak study of Android users under 25: 60% of those surveyed said that if given the choice, carrier billing would be their preferred payment method. This is pretty impressive, as the study also revealed that comparatively, only 18% would opt for credit card and only 5% said they would prefer to use Google Pay.

5. Consumers stick to what’s familiar

Special guest rapper Ric Flo brought a fresh, millennial perspective to our panel. He suggested that the reason payment mechanics like Apple Pay are so popular isn’t because they’re actually any better than carrier billing, but is because millennials are familiar with brands like Apple and it’s simply the easiest thing to do. With carrier billing competing directly with this, there’s work to be done to educate consumers and familiarise them with charge-to-mobile options.

6. Don’t tell consumers how to behave — especially not millennials

When questioned about how best to encourage consumers to use carrier billing, Nicholas Walters, the CEO of Hopster suggested that specific promotions and distribution deals were the best way to go. He argued that this would be more impactful than attempting to re-educate users.

7. Provide consumers with a service they trust

Nicholas also said that carrier billing’s unique selling point was that it has the potential to be a really trusted payment method if deployed correctly and that this was really important to millennials. He referred to the transparency being key for consumers when it comes to making payments and that a cross UK mobile network endorsement is a very powerful reference.

8. Everyone has a mobile phone

Head of UK & Western Europe at ECOMMPAY, Paul Marcantonio illustrated the ubiquity of carrier billing, pointing out that there is one credit card user for every 5 mobile phone users. With this in mind, and given that this is particularly true of millennials, companies should be embracing the penetration power of carrier billing.

9. Give consumers choice

CEO of Fonix Rob Weisz stressed that carrier billing was all about giving consumers more choice. It’s not about replacing existing payments methods, it’s about letting the consumer decide which way is most convenient for them. This is something that really resonates with all generations, but in particular with millennials who are tech savvy and expect seamless technology.

10. Ric flow quite literally “rapped up” the event with his tune “My Generation” You can listen to his performance again on Soundcloud: