Gen Z (those born between 1995 and 2015) is growing up, graduating from high school and college, and becoming increasingly influential in the payments space. They are bringing their comfortability with technology and change with them. From growing up using computers and the internet, they are uniquely aware of both the challenges and benefits of adopting new technology. Gen Z is currently exploring and pushing the boundaries of modern payment methods, and what they find and like will shape the payments landscape of tomorrow. Credit unions will have to stay on top of – and ahead of – these trends if they are going to compete for the attention of Gen Z, which is actively being targeted by new digital banks and other financial institutions.
Embracing Change (We Need Options!)
The world today is changing and growing at a faster rate than ever before, and payments are no exception. Gen Z may be the most diverse generation in the way that they make payments. From talking to friends, I discovered that we have a variety of different preferences. A majority still prefer the simplicity and budgeting of debit cards; they don’t want to worry about spending more than they have. They also know the most about debit cards, how to use them and the security risks associated with them. Some prefer the rewards and credit-building capability of credit cards, and they pride themselves on staying on top of their finances, so it is not difficult for them to manage monthly payments. Others are exploring the capabilities that digital wallets have to offer, learning that they no longer have to carry a physical wallet or cards that could be lost or damaged. It is also very likely that the way we will make payments in just a decade or two is impossible to even conceptualize right now. Who could have imagined a store like Amazon Go just 10 years ago? It is important that we are not married to one form of payment, and that we stay open to adopting new methods that prove to be more convenient and secure.
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