New Numbers Emerge Underscoring Mobile Banking for Millennials

March 12, 2018         By: Steven Anderson

While on a certain level, the new report from Intelligent Finance showing that millennials really, really want mobile options when it comes to banking is almost an eye-roller of redundancy—didn’t we all already know this one?—the numbers make this point that much more concrete, and teach us all how important diversification is when it comes to banking.

The Intelligent Finance report found that a smartphone app that’s easy to work with is actually the single biggest factor in deciding which bank to go with. Given that the baby boomers responding to that study found that face-to-face customer service was the biggest factor—and rudeness in that service the biggest factor in deciding whether or not to switch banks—it’s a clear illustration of the dichotomy at work.

Further, the report noted that those 35 or older preferred branch visits in 19 percent of cases, while millennials favored branches in just 10 percent of cases. For digital banking options, the 35 and older crowd wanted to use a desktop PC in 23 percent of cases while only 11 percent of millennials could say likewise.

A report from Fico called “Millennial Banking Insights and Opportunities” rang a note of assent, pointing out that those aged 18 to 34 were twice as likely to be using mobile payments as their older counterparts, and were twice more likely to be using such services in the next 12 months. Millennials even have a marked preference for constant communication with their bank over a variety of media.

The millennials, right now, have the catbird seat as they come into their peak spending years. They’re buying cars, houses, and similar items with much more regularity than the other generations who are saving for their later years, or actively living on savings from their earlier years. So banks, businesses, and the like must tailor their approaches to the millennials, and that means a greater focus on mobile and online. This approach must be tempered, however, by noting that the other generations still shop, still buy, and still bank, and alienating them is a sure path to failure

With Gen Z poised to further destabilize things—they seem to prefer life like Generation X preferred it—any move made now may not have much of a shelf life. Splitting the difference would seem to be the long-term solution here.