Zoomers on campus: Where I choose to bank

With many Zoomers in college and new to the banking industry, there is much to learn about what credit unions can do to improve their banking experience. Credit unions can attract more Zoomers by highlighting and discussing what they value in terms of personalized experiences, customer service, and rewards. This is critical, as Zoomers are an imminent major target audience for financial services.  Here, we provide insight into why Zoomers bank where they do, according to data and anecdotes from Zoomers themselves.

Personalized Experience

Mobile banking, better rates, and personal relationships are common factors that Zoomers are looking for when it comes to banking. 64% of Zoomers are looking for a more personalized banking experience with product and service recommendations relevant to their unique situation. Especially as new college students, it’s often the first time they are taking control of their budget. “I just opened my account earlier, and I chose my bank because I like their customer service. I have a lot of questions, so I would rather talk to someone so they can help me,” says Kayla, a freshman at the University of New Haven. 

For Zoomers, customer service is essential. Whether it be from digital chat options or over the phone, they want to be assisted fast and feel cared for. “I would switch to another bank if they offered great customer service. That to me means 24/7 representatives available that greet you, informative videos about banking or how to use mobile banking or FAQs is very helpful,” stated Lizette, a junior at Caldwell University. A study conducted by PYMNTS.com and SundaySky found that 72% of consumers would be very likely to switch to FIs that provide video content on its products. Personalized videos work because they drive engagement. This includes a higher click-through rate and interaction rate, which leads to a higher sales conversion rate.

Partnerships, Incentives, and More

Many financial institutions partner with colleges to gain competitive advantages, such as having only one bank or credit union on campus and strategizing where to place ATMs and signage in high-traffic areas. They can even set stands on campus to hold giveaways and promotions. Although it doesn’t guarantee that the student will sign-up on campus, credit unions need to get creative with incentives and rewards programs tied to achieving Zoomers’ financial goals. A lot of college students are looking into what financial institutions have to offer to them. 

Nicole, a senior from Western Connecticut State University says, “I look for banks that offer me low-interest rates and cashback programs for getting good grades; every little bit helps during school.” A great example of financial institutions offering incentives for mobile digital wallets is the free Kasasa Cash Back Checking rewards program offered through Philadelphia Federal Credit Union. When asked about banks and credit unions on campus and if she uses them, Hardi, a student at Temple University, stated, “Yes, I do use them on campus. They are very accessible and are located in almost all the buildings here.” At Temple University’s Philadelphia Federal Credit Union, for example, not only do they offer up to $10 in monthly refunds for nationwide ATM fees, but they also offer a $15 sign-up bonus. Additionally, for every monthly purchase, they give up to $10 in refunds for iTunes, Amazon, or Google Play. These money-saving incentives are very appealing. From rewards programs on debit card purchases to surcharge-free ATM networks, these incentives and programs can make credit unions very attractive.


As we all know, when financial institutions make their way into high schools and colleges, they bring educational materials, rewards, and paper forms. Given that Zoomers place a high value on environmental concerns, with 67% believing that climate change should be a major priority, go paperless whenever possible, e.g., QR codes. Not only will going paperless show your alignment with Zoomer environmental considerations but there will be less friction in the sign-up process. Consider this: not many students want to waste time filling out a paper form when they can scan a QR code instead. Consumers utilize QR codes on their cellphones in about 25% of cases, but that is the whole population. What about the Zoomers on campus? It’s crucial to understand how the educational system is assisting Zoomers on campus. Many colleges have effectively implemented QR codes in their classrooms or college campus events. It’s less traditional and more focused on technology. AI applications not only deliver the same knowledge in a more efficient manner, but they also improve student engagement. 

Not surprisingly, social media is where Zoomers obtain a lot of information, and that also includes financial habits. Credit unions should make sure that they are posting content that is relevant to Zoomers on the platforms they are engaging with— e.g., Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, and Facebook. YouTube and Instagram are ranked the most used social media platforms by Zoomers. Approximately 89% of them visit or use YouTube. 

Credit unions can take advantage of this opportunity to teach Zoomers about their finances, as over 80% of Zoomers are concerned about their finances, and about 72% of Zoomers interviewed in a Pew Social Media study say they use at least 11 of the social networks included in the study (Instagram, TikTok, Snapchat). “I do think social media can bring more awareness about financial habits, but we have to be careful of what information we can trust. I have seen some ads or posts on social media that gave the wrong information about banking,” says Hardi, a Student at Temple University. That said, many of these advertisements and information are not directly from financial institutions. Many Zoomers would benefit immensely from learning information directly from a financial institution’s social media. That is why it is crucial to have a strong and relevant social media presence.

To summarize, when it comes to luring Zoomers to campus, having personalized experiences, incentives, similar ideals, and a social presence are incredibly crucial. With practically everything being done on social media today, it’s critical to recognize that it’s one of the primary resources for  Zoomers. More digital options, such as QR codes or allowing payments from more modern channels like Amazon Alexa, have the potential to completely shift the game and improve their banking experiences. For many Zoomers, having a positive impact on society is extremely important, as is having a sense of ownership. Knowing a handful about the Zoomer generation can aid financial organizations in making numerous improvements to their customer or member experience and convenience.

Read more about Zoomers in Zoomer Generation’s Core Qualities and Values.

Co-authored by Saman Kazmi

Contact Alacriti

Contact Alacriti

Katerin Gomez

Katerin Gomez

Katerin has a passion for market research and content development in the tech space. She has worked at a major residential mortgage lender, and completed an internship in customer experience ... Web: https://www.alacriti.com Details