Boomers Flip the Script on Storing Travel Docs in Digital Wallets

man using mobile wallet for transportation fare

Are there any adults still out there who aren’t using digital wallets to securely store important documents?

The answer is yes. There are many who don’t, but increasingly consumers are opting to use mobile wallets as a convenient way to both shop and store those items housed inside traditional wallets.

As PYMNTS Intelligence found when researching “The Mobile Wallet Challenge: Replacing Physical With Digital” that like many things digital, the popularity and preferences of digital wallets hinges on many things including generational preferences — some of which may be surprising.

For instance, as might be expected, the report — which is based on surveys with 2,059 consumers — found that nearly 90% of millennials and 89% of Gen Z consumers have used at least one mobile wallet feature while just 49% of baby boomers and seniors have done so.

But PYMNTS Intelligence also found that only about half of younger consumers think mobile wallets provide the potential to replace the storage functionality physical wallets offer. Only 51% of Gen Z respondents say mobile wallets can supplant most or all physical wallet features, but older generations are far more gung-ho. Eighty-four percent of baby boomers and seniors and 87% of Gen X consumers say mobile wallets can supersede at least some parts of a physical wallet.

Generational preferences become more pronounced when looking at which documents consumers are comfortable storing on their devices. As the accompanying figure illustrates, nearly half of Gen X consumers store event tickets on their mobile wallets, while less than a third of Gen Z do. Digitally storing vaccine cards appears to make more sense to boomers and seniors (40%), Gen Xers (38%) and bridge millennials (37%) than it does to Gen Z (26%).

When it comes to traveling, almost half of baby boomers and seniors and 45% of Gen X put their airline boarding passes on their digital wallets, while only about a third of Gen Z flyers do.

Those preferences flip slightly when it comes to buses and trains. Only 5% of seniors and baby boomers keep train tickets on their devices while 11% digitally store their bus passes. But 18% of Gen Z commuters store their train tickets on their devices and 25% of them digitally store their bus passes, suggesting that younger commuters may see more value in being able to quickly access their tickets when commuting to work via trains and buses.

chart, how consumers use mobile wallets