Why Millennials Are Leading The FinTech Revolution
Sean McGowanMarch 07th, 20183 minute read
Sean is a technical researcher & writer at Codal, authoring blog posts on topics ranging from UX design to the Internet of Things. Working alongside developers, designers, and marketers, Sean helps support the writing team to ensure Codal produces engaging web content of the highest quality. When not writing about the latest innovations in app design, Sean can be found cooking, watching old movies, or complaining about the shortcomings of his favorite Philadelphia sports teams.
Millennials have been taking quite a bit of flak recently, with older generations upbraiding them for decimating entire industries like fashion and oil, and ruining once-cherished cultural institutions like vacation and the 9-5 workday. Movie theaters, brunch, the NFL, the concept of dating, napkins—you name it, and there’s a scolding thinkpiece out there shaking its fist at those damn whippersnappers.
And while millennials are inevitably driving cultural and socioeconomic change—just like every generation preceding them and every one that will follow—it’s more than naive to claim these shifts are inherently bad. In fact, millennials are spearheading progress in one of the most exciting sectors today: financial technology, or fintech.
Millennials are not ruining everything, but they are heralding bad news for banks, investment firms, and other financial institutions that have yet to embrace modern digital solutions. Here are just some of the reasons why the fintech revolution is resonating with millennials.
They Use Tech For Everything Else
Most millennials aren’t entirely digital natives—there are many that remember a world without smartphones—but they did grow up and mature in the Information Age, and their predisposition to tech shows it. It’s the first generation to have no qualms with digitizing nearly every aspect of their lives.
Millennials shop online, listen to music digitally, and connect and interact through social media. These experiences set their expectations for the other aspects of their lives. After all, if I can use my phone to hail a cab or watch a movie, why can’t I use it to manage money or make payments?
The number of mobile banking users in the U.S. is skyrocketing
These expectations are tangible and measurable. 77 percent of millennials report their phone is always with them, and nearly a quarter cited that the lack of a usable mobile banking app was a serious obstacle in engaging with a bank. If financial institutions can’t deliver a holistic digital experience, they’re destined to miss out on the generation that will comprise nearly half the U.S. workforce by 2022.
They Prioritize User Experience
As a direct result of their digital upbringing, millennials have interacted with user experiences at every level of quality. They understand what separates the usable from the unusable, and they’ve shown again and again that their first priority is the user experience.
For proof, look no further than the current mass migration from Snapchat. The social media giant’s recently released update included a completely retooled UX that flopped spectacularly, resulting in thousands of users (including some prominent ones) disavowing the platform entirely.
So we know millennials understand the importance of user experience. What they (likely) don’t understand are the intricate, often complex processes required to save, invest, and manage wealth. That’s where fintech comes in.
Well-designed fintech applications like Venmo or FirmHero succeed because their UX simplifies difficult, tedious, or otherwise time-consuming financial tasks. Robo-advisors like Acorns have helped ease the uncertainty and stress of investing, and wealth management software like Mint is one of the most popular budgeting tools for millennials.
They Understand The Importance Of Financial Responsibility
Despite sometimes being painted as spoiled and naive, studies have shown millennials are actually quite fiscally responsible. Forbes found that roughly two-thirds of millennials stashed more than 5 percent of their paychecks into savings accounts—the highest rate of all the generations surveyed.
Many experts cite millennials’ firsthand experience with the Great Recession as the explanation behind their prudent savings habits. But whatever the explanation, it’s expected that this emphasis on fiscal responsibility will continue as millennials age into late-stage financial processes, like retirement.
This is excellent news for both fintech startups and financial institutions looking to upgrade their digital services. The future wants to engage with fintech—millennials don’t need to be convinced to use a mobile investment tool or money management platform. They just need to be convinced to use yours.
Which brings us to the final reason millennials are driving the digitization of the finance sector: they are ruthlessly fickle. And why wouldn’t they be? They have more options than any generation that preceded them, thanks to digitization.
More TV channels, more music, more competition in every digital market—if millennials don’t like their bank’s user experience, they’re more than happy to pack up and move to another one.
In fact, the cheekily titled Millennial Disruption Index (MDI), a three-year study of the generation’s industrial impact, found that a third of millennials would switch banks in the next ninety days. Additionally, more than half of the MDI’s surveyed millennials believed that their banks didn't offer anything different, anything distinguishable, than other banks.
This is not a generation known for their brand loyalty, and that’s why every player in the financial sector needs to deliver robust, reliable digital experiences if they want to capture the millennial demo. If you’re interested in how your financial institution can leverage a digital solution that not only meets those requirements but goes above and beyond, contact us today.