The Future of Payments Lies With Gen Z
April 4, 2023
If you’re wondering why there’s so much talk about what Gen Z does and doesn’t like, it’s because big generations pull a lot of weight as consumers. At 20.7% of the U.S. population,1 it will soon be the largest consumer segment in the country. Like the generations before them, they have their way of looking at and experiencing the world, which shapes their preferences, right down to how they want to pay their bills. In this blog, we share some insight into Gen Z’s digital payment expectations to give billers a better understanding of what it takes to make this tech-savvy generation happy.
Traditional Payment Methods Don’t Meet Their Needs
Less than half of Gen Z has a traditional bank account compared to three-quarters of Baby Boomers and seven out of ten Millennials.2 Instead, they choose new money management tools, like apps and digital wallets. They’re also less enamored with traditional payment cards than other generations. A survey by Logica Research found Gen Z is planning to reduce its reliance on debit cards from 35% to 26% and credit cards from 16% to 14% in the future.3 Despite their comfort with digital banking technology, 37% of Gen Z are still using cash today, but only 22% say they will pay with cash in the future.4 This behavioral outlier may drop even more as they enter the workforce and become bill payers.
Digital Wallets Are Must-Haves
In 2021, 57% of Gen Z used digital wallets, up from 50% in 2020.5 Though they use Apple Pay more than other generations, 14% use three digital wallets or more.6 The average Gen Z got their first cellphone at 12 and hasn’t put it down since! More than 6 in 10 said mobile devices were their payment method of choice for digital purchases. They’re also fans of Peer-to-Peer (P2P) payments. 39% of Gen Zers use P2P payments such as Venmo, up 7% from before 2020. Having insight into their payment preferences allows billers to build these solutions sooner rather than later to meet impending demand.
Gen Zers Love Buy Now, Pay Later
Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) is a type of short-term financing that allows consumers to make purchases and pay for them at a future date, often interest-free.7 It’s quickly become a popular choice with consumers, especially younger people. Consumers like BNPL payments because they find them easier to manage than credit card repayments, like the simple approval process, and appreciate that it’s usually interest-free if the debt is repaid on time. Gen Z was one of the early adopters of these services. Almost 75% of BNPL users in the U.S. are Gen Z or Millennials.8 In 2022, approximately 44% of Gen Z digital buyers ages 14 and older used BNPL services at least once, compared with only 37.2% of Millennials.9
They Use Cryptocurrency
Research shows a clear connection between age and the likelihood of buying cryptocurrency. The younger you are, the more likely you are to purchase. This certainly rings true with Gen Z. 33% have bought, traded, or received cryptocurrency, compared to 20% of the overall population.10 In comparison to other generations, Gen Z buyers outnumber Gen X by 3.5 times and Baby Boomers by 14.3 times.11 What makes Gen Z so attracted to crypto? Many don’t trust traditional financial institutions, preferring crypto's decentralized (or unregulated) nature. Billers should see their interest in emerging digital services as a sign of things to come as they start thinking about how to serve this generation best.
What It Takes To Please Gen Z
We know a lot about Gen Z, so wooing them shouldn’t be difficult. It will definitely take a commitment to digital solutions because they aren’t interested in traditional payment methods. This generation has already shown a willingness to try innovative payment solutions, like P2P, BNPL, and digital wallets. Keeping up with new payment technology is key, especially ones that gain traction with younger consumers. Adapting to meet their needs will allow billers to deliver exceptional customer experience to this mega-generation.
Get to know Gen Z even better by reading our white paper, How Gen Z Is Shaping the Future of Payments.
Other resources you may find interesting:
Digital Payment Trends to Watch in 2023
New Podcast Episode: Latest Payment Innovations Are Changing How We Pay
New KUBRA Research Confirms Digital Wallet Use Is Growing
- Gen Z Statistics – What We Know About the New Generation, review42, 2022.
- Top Gen Z Trends Impacting Banking In The Year Ahead, THE FINANCIAL BRAND, 2021.
- Only 1 in 5 Gen Zers Say They Will Pay With Cash in the Future Finds Logica Research, 2021.
- The Numbers Behind Younger Users’ Love Affair With Mobile Wallets And Online Banking, Digital Trasactions, 2021.
- Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL): What It Is, How It Works, Pros & Cons, Investopedia, 2022.
- Almost 75% of BNPL users in the US are Gen Z or Millennials, eMarketer, 2021.
- The state of consumer cryptocurrency adoption, S&P Global, 2022.
- Study: 94% of Crypto Buyers are Gen Z/Millennial, but Gen X is Outspending Them, STILT, 2022.