Confident, self-expressive, liberal, receptive to new ideas and ways of living: these are some of the descriptions the Pew Research Centre in America applies to the generational personality of the millennial.
Something they probably ought to add is our tenacity when it comes to technology. We are digital natives, techno-literates. Our dependency on mobile gadgetry, wearables, social media and the Internet make the millennial generation one of the most comfortable with innovation.
What was not predicted by our elders, but mostly addressed by young entrepreneurs, is the relationship millennials have with their money.
Millennials are skeptical of traditional banking institutions. We grew up in the wake of the financial crash, the oldest experiencing the pains of joblessness in a hostile economy and the youngest witnessing the rise of the anti-bank narrative.
FICO’s recent report, Millennial Banking Insights and Opportunities, however, offers some insights about how banks can start reengaging with Gen-Y.
- 52% of Millennials Prefer Non-Traditional Payments
What does this mean? It might look like our scepticism has grown into explorative new territories from online payment options like Paypal, to money transfer companies like Xendpay and peer-to-peer lending options like Zopa. In actuality, it’s because we like things socially integrated, streamlined, easy-to-use. There’s a reason the mantra of so many fintech companies is ‘fast, simple, safe.’ It’s because that’s all we really want.
It’s also why we’re so open to mobile wallets. 32% of us say we’re likely to use Apple Pay or a Google Wallet in 2015 compared to only 16% of the older generation. We like things easy and simple.
- 80% of Millennials Conduct Basic Banking Digitally
According to Business Insider, our most common digital banking activities include checking balances on accounts (80%), checking for fraudulent activity (76%), and performing internal transfers of funds (65%) – which is significantly higher on all counts than our Baby Boomer parents.
Plus, we like our alerts and notifications. We value minimally invasive information coming from our banks and alternative financial platforms. Especially when this is related to overdraft warnings and potential fraudulent activity. Just the other day, a friend’s card was blocked and she received a message about possible fraud. Why was she buying sushi in London, but also trying to take out hundreds of pounds in the Philippines?
That said, it might seem anomalous, but 30% of us don’t want to download a banking app. It’s all connected to the way we like to communicate and be communicated with.
Do it right, however, and we’ll be open to your sales messages too. If they’re targeted based on our individual financial situation. And aren’t too frequent.
— FinTech HK (@FinTechHK) February 26, 2015
- 43% of Millennials Don’t Receive Communication Via Their Preferred Channel
It might be email, text, a mobile app or the bank website, but not all of us want the same thing and most of the time we really don’t like it when we’re bombarded on all fronts. So if banks want to keep us happy: communicate with us using the right channel. Personally, I’d rather I was called immediately about fraud and texted only if I wasn’t picking up. But if you’re trying to push a new credit card on me, send it to my email so I can deal with the sales pitch when I have time. FICO’s research shows that the trick is in determining each person’s preferences and matching their interactions with different kinds of communications. Successfully figuring out that what Lauren in Edinburgh wants is different to what I want, which is different to her brother’s wants or any other millennial, and putting it into practice – well that’ll win the consumer experience. It’s also what enterprising finance apps like Slice, Mint, and other growing fintech companies are using to keep on the front foot.
Right now, most millennials still use banks. Banks have not been cut out entirely. Not yet. This means there’s still a chance to join the revolution. As Jim Marous wrote, ‘given the marketing and referral power of some of the new mobile payment apps, the urgency of developing or building a partnership with a current solution provider can’t be overestimated’. Banks need to start fostering better relationships with entrepreneurs who are successfully engaging with millennials. Ensuring the message is right, making banking personal again, that’s the first step. There is a reason that first generation internet humans are the big name bloggers and vloggers so many young people know and love. That the Forbes Billionaire List has more and more under-40s, including Snapchat’s 24-year-old Evan Speigel. They communicate in the right way. So with that in mind … it’s time for the banks to catch up. To innovate. To communicate.
Why not talk to some of our leading financial experts about what PR can do to help engage millennials?
Call us for some advice and guidance on managing your brand’s financial reputation with Generation Y on 0207 0251 350.
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