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The evolving payment habits of the 64 million consumers born between 1977 and 1991–labeled Generation Y–mean financial-services companies touting alternative payment choices must do more to reach these consumers or risk losing them, contends a recent survey report from First Annapolis Consulting, a Linthicum, Md.-based consultancy. The survey of 60 consumers ages 18 to 26 found that ease of use and convenience are the most-important factors in choosing a payment method, followed by security and rewards. Credit cards remained the most popular choice, with 65% preferring them, followed by debit cards, 22%; checking account withdrawals, 8%; PayPal, 3%; and other choices, 2%. First Annapolis says 58% of the respondents have tried PayPal, but other alternative payment methods were not as well known. On average, only 3% of those surveyed had heard of Google Checkout, Bill Me Later or Revolution Money, each of which uses a payment system outside of conventional networks. The report advises using online social sites, such as Facebook, to reach this group of consumers. Demographers do not agree on what birth years define Generation Y.

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