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Unique insight into campus apps and payments delivered in 2023 Student Financial Experience Report

TouchNet’s fourth annual survey explores student usage of payment options including campus cards, Apple Pay, Venmo, and more

CampusIDNews Staff   ||   Nov 09, 2023  ||   

Get ready for some eye-opening stats on how students interact with your campus via payments and mobile apps. Here’s a good place to start. Nearly 85% of students use their smartphone to make payments and 95% use at least one app to interact with their institution.

For four years, TouchNet has conducted survey research into student’s financial habits and preferences. This year’s results are presented in the 2023 Student Financial Experience Report. TouchNet makes the report available to any interested party, and it is definitely worth the download.

Nearly 90% of students use their institution’s campus app multiple times each week.

The key conclusion is that establishing trust and simplicity create the best student experience. If institutions can earn their students’ trust in multiple ways including secure handling of their financial affairs, they will be more apt to stay in school and graduate.

device usage chart

“Gaining students’ trust and making the college experience easy to navigate happens in many ways but is most effectively achieved via technology,” says the report. “A continuing investment in technology solutions will pay off, as nearly half of students reported that technology played a major role in their decision to attend their current college or university—a 41% increase YOY in 2023.”

Let’s look at a few standout results to whet your appetite.

  • Apple Pay usage jumped nearly 70% from 2022 to 2023 with nearly half of all students now using it for everyday purchases.
  • The shift to mobile payments is coming at the expense of other online payment options. Over the last three years, there has been a 30% decrease in the number of students using their desktop or laptop computers to make payments.
  • Nearly 90% of students use their institution’s campus app multiple times each week.
  • Only 10% of students use their campus card to pay for on campus dining. Roughly 25% use their dining plan and 20% use credit or debit cards.

Interestingly, the data showed a disconnect between campus app usage and student expectations of what the app should do. Nearly 70% cite making/managing payments as a top feature for a campus app, but only 25% actually use the app to pay for things on campus.

important features chart

Another of the top cited features for a campus app is that it should be a “streamlined all-in-one app,” but campuses seem to be missing the mark in this case. Nearly three-quarters of all students report that they need to use more than one app to interact with their institution.

According to the report, “perhaps there’s an opportunity to increase awareness of the functionality and integrate it into a comprehensive app.”

There are many interesting data points that can help you think strategically about the future of your card program and auxiliaries.

Download the report here.


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