Engaging the Generations: Mobile Banking for Everyone

August 23, 2016
Amy Hibbard

A few months ago I bumped into my mom at the grocery store. Since we don’t live in the same neighborhood anymore and don’t see each other as often as we used to, we finished shopping together. She checked out first, and when she went to pay I was a little shocked to see her pull out her phone to use Apple Pay.

At the time I had not set it up on my phone and was impressed that she had. I made a comment about how she might be more tech savvy than me about mobile payments, which is funny since I work in the FinTech industry. She told me when she paid with Apple Pay the previous week, the 20-something cashier had remarked, “I’m impressed! I didn’t know older people knew how to use that.” Mom didn’t know if she should take that as a compliment or an insult. I'm thinking it was a compliment.

Both of my Baby-Boomer parents use their phones and tablets to do banking, check their retirement funds, and make payments. They’re among the Boomers who use wearable devices and digital technology just as energetically as younger users do. Honestly, it made me feel a bit out of touch that my mom was using mobile payments before I was willing to even give it a try.

The Gap is Shrinking

The popular belief is that Millennials lead the way with digital technology. But, don’t discount Gen X and Baby Boomers from the tech equation. Boomers have been slower to adopt mobile banking for reasons like screen size and security concerns, but Millennials and Boomers alike think that desktop banking is more secure than mobile banking. Despite that, people of all ages are embracing the technology.

According to an Apptentive US-based consumer survey of people ages 18-65, Generation X is leading the way in mobile banking with 67% reporting they use their primary bank’s mobile app. Millennials are a close second with 64% reporting they use their primary bank’s mobile app and not too far behind are Boomers, with 60% surveyed saying they use a mobile banking app.

Those numbers aren’t significantly different. Since there isn’t much of a usage gap between the generations, it makes a financial institution’s mobile strategy really important to customer service, loyalty, and retention. Engaging with users through mobile can create meaningful relationships.

The challenge that FIs face is differentiating their brand from those of the past and from others in the market. Creating purposeful and meaningful communications with consumers creates engagement and builds real connections. This gives FIs the ability to understand consumers on a deeper level, thus allowing them to provide their customers with a superior experience.

The Future Meets the Present in Banking

Gen Xers and Millennials may be considered the future of banking, but Boomers are the now of banking. It’s important to understand what drives them and ensure your FI is implementing strategies, products and processes that meet their needs. Having a solid plan for nurturing these relationships will determine the profitability of your FI for decades to come.

Seeing my parents adopt mobile banking and payments sooner than I did was the kick in the pants I needed to be more proactive with mobile banking. FIs should ensure that all generations can get on board with the products and services they provide.

Be There On Life’s Financial Journey

Geezeo offers a series of mobile applications with its LIFE apps. LIFE is short for Life Infused Financial Experiences. Our belief is that financial institutions can increase relevancy by assisting people or households through life’s financial challenges and milestones, such as saving for a wedding, shopping for a home, buying a car, or simply learning how to effectively manage money today, so it will be there tomorrow. LIFE apps give FIs the opportunity to differentiate their brand by shifting the value proposition from reactive, transaction-based communications, to proactive personal and emotional connections that are relevant to the customer.

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