Understanding the financial needs of Generation Z

Ask your parents how they conducted their finances when they were young and you’ll be shocked, and maybe even in awe, at how simple it was back then. Your dad will tell you that in those days, everyone parked their savings in a bank – banks were the sole custodians of finance. But fast forward just a few decades and rapid advances in technology and almost universal access to smartphones and the internet have turned the financial landscape on its head. 

Gen Z (those born between 1996 and 2012) have grown up using technology. For them, swiping on a screen is intuitive and they are comfortable making all their decisions on a device. Whether it’s ordering food, booking plane tickets or banking and finance, they demand a seamless, customised experience. They are looking for something intuitive that’s made just for them; something that makes them feel unique. And this growing demand has the potential to transform the way organizations provide financial services, from the ground up. 

Having spent a lot of time with Gen Z in the last few years, here’s my take on the kind of banking experience they need:

1. One that is Simple and Intuitive

Jargons and complexities hinder most youngsters from taking their first steps into financial freedom. What this instagram-generation is looking for is an intuitive solution that understands the gaps in their financial knowledge and fills them in an uncomplicated way. From the design to the recommendation engine, financial solutions need a whole new look and approach to keep Gen Z engaged from the get go. 

2. One that is Personalised

Young people demand the personal touch. They want a unique and customised financial experience, something that makes them feel valued and not like just another cog in the machine. But what really matters is WHAT the customization is for. It’s not about business-class plane tickets or discounts on 5-star hotels. For Gen Z, it’s the small things that matter; things that enhance their day-to-day lives – like Sunday brunches, gym memberships, weekend shopping and uber rides.

3. One that is Transparent

Transparency is the key when it comes to finance and this generation does not tolerate anything less. They are willing to take risks and try new things provided they are given total clarity. This means no ‘hidden charges’ or ‘read the fine print’. They want to know exactly what their credit limit is, interest rate, penalty charges and when the next payment is due. Companies that can provide this will succeed. 

4. One that rewards Loyalty

In the past, the primary focus of financial institutions was to acquire customers. But we are now dealing with a generation that has all sorts of information at their fingertips. Your duty as a service provider is to understand your customers’ desires and reward their loyalty. It could be through more customised interest rates or special offers and while it may come at some short term expense, the long term benefits of having loyal customers are well worth it.

5. One that understands new-age Customer service

While customer service has always been important, it takes on a whole new meaning with a generation used to live chats and instant resolutions. It is imperative for financial organizations to step up and meet these demands. In addition to this, they need to have excellent social media ‘care’ teams that are able to monitor, respond and escalate issues. Brands like Indigo airlines and Netflix have done a brilliant job at managing and resolving issues on social media platforms and it is important for financial companies vying for the attention of the same audience to do the same.

6. And finally, one that is FUN

This is the most obvious, yet the most overlooked. This generation prioritises their happiness and wants novel experiences in everything they do. Basically, they want to feel good and experience engagement and satisfaction even while managing finances. Imagine building your credit score like a rewarding mobile game or getting offers at offline stores pokemon go style. 

By Rajan Bajaj, CEO & Founder, slice

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