If you are part of Generation Z, you might feel like there are few banks suited for your needs. In fact, because this is still such a young generation, most banks are not tailored to serve it. But this hardworking and financially responsible generation has great potential for banks. So don’t worry, some banks already realized Generation Z is extremely financially active (almost as much as Millennials). For banks, this generation is a golden opportunity, and some are becoming a great fit for Gen Zers. So, if you are a Gen Z looking for the perfect bank for your needs and goals, this article may help you. It will explain why Generation Z has different financial needs from Millennials and other age groups, on top of listing the best banks for Gen Zers.
Generation Z is composed of those born at the turn of the century and ranging in age from 14 to 24. Since most Gen Zers are still quite young, many think they don't have a clear picture of what they really want yet. However, recent surveys indicate that members of this generation hold strong opinions, habits, and preferences that contrast with those held by previous generations of millennials. In fact, Gen Z’s views and behaviors bring them closer in mindset to their parents, grandparents, and even great-grandparents, who grew up amid the Great Depression. As unusual as that might sound, there is a very logical explanation behind that.
The economic events that unfolded during a person's childhood and teenage years tend to affect their views on financial matters. Taking that into consideration, Gen Zers have a not-too-distant economic downturn that left an indelible mark on their consumer behavior. This mark is similar to what the Great Depression did to their ancestors. Millennials, on the other hand, grew up in a very positive financial moment in history. They were optimistic and believed in the American Dream. This American Dream concept was a baby boomers’ notion that disappeared a little with Generation X but was brought back by Millennials. The reality check for Millennials only happened when they were already adults, with the 2008 financial crisis.
Generation Z, however, was quite young when the financial crisis happened, which made them more financially realistic. For instance, this generation doesn’t believe they can count on the concept of the American Dream. Due to that, this generation is considered hardworking, debt-averse, economical, and has already begun to save for retirement. Even though the oldest Gen Zers are 24 years old, only 10% of this generation doesn’t have a bank in the US. 12% of them are also already saving for retirement – with 35% of Gen Z planning to start saving for it in their 20s.
But this doesn’t mean they expect the same things from a bank as their parents and grandparents did. Actually, because they are such a realistic generation, they are quite critical of traditional financial institutions. For instance, they don’t fall for banks that don’t offer actual value. In addition, being brought up in a digital environment made Gen Zers quite impatient to go through unnecessary bureaucracy. Thus, if you are part of this generation, there are some major things you probably demand from a banking service.
There are some features and characteristics that can make a bank more suitable and appealing for Generation Z. Naturally, everyone is different and some people that belong to this generation won’t have the same opinion when it comes to banking. But, in general, these are the principal things that can make a bank more attractive to a Gen Z consumer and his/her needs.
Gen Zers are inserted into the digital and social media world from a young age. They grew up with the easy access and communication the Internet provides, and they don’t know anything different from that. Because of that, connectivity became a critical aspect in banking for them. In fact, according to data from the Digital Banking Attitudes Study by Chase, 99% of Gen Zers use a mobile banking app for a wide range of tasks. Thus, the best banks for Generation Z will create a smoother experience by offering intuitive, multi-functional mobile apps. This easy-access format of banking offers more convenience, efficiency, and practicality. At least from the eyes of most Gen Zers. Some of these apps also provide additional tools such as budgeting, envelope banking, and goal setting. These extra features improve even further the user experience.
Gen Zers are extremely averse to debt and will choose a bank that won’t push them to that path. On top of that, this generation has strong values which often include transparency and they expect the services they use to have these same ethical worries. If you're searching for the right banks as a Gen Zer, aim for a bank that avoids fees as much as possible. The very pragmatic Generation Z usually expects banks to don’t charge maintenance fees, don’t apply minimum balance fines, and to don’t have minimal overdraft fees. Financially, it just doesn’t make sense for them (or for anyone if you may ask). It might be farfetched to demand banks to don’t charge any type of fee, but if the bank does charge some fees, they better not be hidden. Generation Z demands transparency from banks, as part of their very strong beliefs. That is why banks that wish to attract Gen Z clients usually need to offer a transparent fee structure.
Gen Zers are savers. Most are not even full adults yet, but they are already focused on saving wherever they can. Many are even saving for retirement already. That is why a bank that wishes to appeal to this generation should not only have a high yield savings account, but also other attractive savings tools. For example, Gen Zers are the age group that most uses discount coupons. So, if the bank offers specific discounts in some stores or services, this can be very attractive for these youngsters. Another type of tool that is very appreciated by many Gen Zers is budgeting features in bank apps. Anything that will help this very financially pragmatic generation to avoid debt and to build savings for their future is seen as a plus.
When talking about Gen Zers, a generation that grew with the instant resolution of the digital world, it is no surprise that efficient customer service is expected. Gen Zers are not very patient, since they got used to short videos and fast access to anything online. Thus, for a bank to fit the needs of most people in this generation, it is important to offer good 24/7 call, chat, and email customer service.
For its age, Generation Z is very financially aware. But that doesn’t mean they know it all. As a matter of fact, Gen Zers admit they want to know more about finances so they can make the right decisions. Banks or apps that offer a visual, simple, and even interactive financial education can be very appealing for Generation Z. They are open to being taught how to monitor their accounts, best invest their money, and keep track of their budgets. Gen Zers are worried about their future in terms of money, and they appreciate it if a bank helps them learn more.
Finally, based on these relevant features and tools that Gen Zers look for when choosing a bank, here are the best banks for Gen Z in 2021.
Due allows you to send and receive payments from clients and customers from your eBank account. This process can be done by phone number or email account in as little as ten minutes. It also only takes one day to send money to a conventional bank account. When it comes to security, Due encrypts all of your information and stores it on a secure server. Unauthorized transfers are also monitored by the next-generation digital payment technology.
This online bank offers all the traditional services, such as sending money to friends and paying bills, without charging any monthly or overdraft fees. What makes Chime stand out is its automated savings. This feature works by rounding up your transactions to the next dollar and converting that amount to your savings.
Similar to Chime, BBVA focuses on assisting millennials in saving money. BBVA claims that by using their tools of setting targets and visualizing how you invest money; you can save ten percent of your annual income. It also allows you to deposit checks and transfer money from your mobile. On top of all that, Simple doesn’t charge any maintenance fees.
Ally is probably the most popular and highly rated online bank. This bank achieved this position due to its no-fee checking, high savings and CD yields, and 24/7 customer support. Ally also offers a savings account and a 12-month CD with very competitive interest rates. Finally, Ally bank accepts and sends transfers from every bank in the United States.
The online mobile bank Moven provides a checking account as well as the ability to monitor your financial health at all times. This bank app keeps track of not only your Moven account but also any other banking accounts you've linked to it. It also doesn’t charge any overdraft fees, only a few account fees. The only major disadvantage of Moven is that checks can take up to 10 days to clear.
Circle takes great pride in being more than a payment app. It states it is a platform that really can transform the world economy. Circle uses blockchain technology to offer you the opportunity to send and receive money from anywhere in the world quickly, anonymously, and for free. It only takes a picture of your debit card to instantly send money to a friend. To add some fun, this app also offers GIFs or emojis to personalize your money messages.
Outlet does not offer checking account services; thus, it is not exactly a bank. However, it does offer saving services that can help you collect over 50 times more money than a conventional savings account. This savings account platform allows clients to easily navigate through the crypto environment without having to deal with the major risks this market usually has. This way, you can take advantage of crypto’s attractive interest rates without needing to have expertise in this field. On top of all that, Outlet is completely free to use and doesn’t charge any hidden maintenance fees. Outlet holds your funds with SOC II Compliant custody partner.
While Bank of Internet USA's savings and CD yields aren't the best, the checking account will earn up to 1.25 percent APY. No fees, online check deposits, cash-back payment incentives, and 24/7 mobile service are some of the other benefits of checking accounts.
The online iGOBank is backed by the almost 80-year-old Flushing Bank. Some of its features are smartphone deposits, balance requests, and free bill pay. All without any fees and offering a 1.00 % annual percentage yield. The Allpoint Network has 43,000 ATM sites in all 50 states where you can make surcharge-free withdrawals. A great advantage of iGOBank is that it is insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC).
This is a European online bank that opened operations in the US in 2019. This easy-to-navigate bank app is fully licensed and highly trustworthy. Similar to some of the other options, N26 has no minimum daily or monthly account balance requirements, and no monthly maintenance fees. A great feature of this online bank is that it doesn’t charge fees for foreign transaction exchanges while traveling overseas. You can also do up to 2 ATM withdrawals without any fees.
Revolut is a mobile-first bank that makes managing your money simple and fast. It allows you to make online transfers securely, reliably, and quickly from your mobile app in many different currencies. By opening an account on Revolut, you will get a debit card that can be accessed from ATMs. But as with every option, Revolut has its downsides. If you pass the withdrawal limit of the month (which is not very high), you will have to pay a fee. Also, you can’t add money to your account with cash or cheque, instead, you need to transfer from another account – for now at least.