What image comes to your mind when you picture people using digital wallets?
Almost all of us see something like an 18-30-year-old tech-savvy person using their mobile phone to pay for their coffee. They might also be splitting the bill at a restaurant or making an online payment. In short, it strikes us as a modern concept that is not particularly made for all generations.
In reality, digital wallets have been around for quite a while and they are adopted by people from all generations. Perhaps their use of these wallets may be for different purposes. However, there is no denying that digital wallets have been created to cater for the needs of all age groups. When it comes to creating a digital wallet, one must understand what each generation is looking for, and how to benefit the audience or user base they are targeting.
Digital Wallets and Payments Across Generations
Baby boomers, who are now between the ages of 58 and 78 can be considered the most stable generation economically. They benefit from a good standard of living, spending capacity, and the ability to accumulate savings. This is because their generation had experienced an economic boom.
Boomers for the most part are not tech-savvy. They might carry smartphones but use them mostly for calls, texts, and other communication apps. They also do not typically own a PC, but perhaps a tablet for entertainment or to go through emails. In short, they are unlikely to be using many digital services.
They rely on traditional forms of payment – cash, cheques, and cards. And they typically perform all types of transactions in person at stores, money transfer branches, and banks.
In terms of digital wallet use and digital payments, they are the least age group to use and benefit from these services.
Generation X are now between the ages of 43 and 57. They have higher levels of education and do not have as many financial resources as the previous generation. As a result, they tend to rely heavily on credit.
Gen X have lived through both traditional and modern equipment and technology. They have adapted well to the new digital side of things. Almost all of them own smartphones, PCs, or the likes and are regular users. They browse social media actively and use online digital services and stores.
Their use of digital wallets and dependency on digital payments varies across cultures and socioeconomic levels. However, although they trust traditional methods more, they still rely on digital methods and use them often for online purchases and money transfers.
Generation X most likely do not rely solely on digital wallets and use them often alongside credit and debit cards. We can say that their use of traditional payment and digital payment is 50-50. The ease of use and practicality of digital wallets is a big determinant of whether they will use them. This is why it is important for fintech companies to cater to that requirement.
Millennials, who are now between the ages of 28 and 42, focus more on the benefit they can receive from whatever goods or services they are using. Due to their fast-paced lifestyles, they tend to have indifferent relationships with possessions and are always moving or upgrading with the trends. Many of them have only started working recently and their lifestyles consist of alternating between the digital and traditional.
They are heavy consumers of online platforms and technology but go back to traditional ways depending on the current trends. The vast majority of millennials use smartphones and consume on-demand content.
Millennials, while it also depends on their culture and economic status, are not as familiar with traditional forms of payment such as cheques. They have a preference to use cards for all kinds of transactions. But they are also strong and regular consumers of digital payment methods and tend to use or have more than one platform and account.
This generation is the one that’s targeted most by current fintech startups. They are targeted not just for payments – but also for insurance, microcredit, loans, and various other forms of financial services. Studies have found that compatibility and security are strong determinants of whether millennials will use digital payment technology. Thus, fintech companies should focus on establishing the aspect of safety and trustworthiness with this generation.
Gen Z are somewhere between the ages of 7 and 27 now. They are the generation that has been most exposed to technology and the digital side of things. Technically, they have not known life before the internet.
As a result, this generation has quite a limited knowledge of traditional payment methods and tends to be skeptical of it. They prefer digital and mobile financial tools.
Although their financial capacity depends on their household (because not all Gen Z’ers are independent at this age), they are already very well integrated into the digital payments world and have adopted it comfortably. This makes them the next target for new players in Fintech.
This generation expects to handle most of their transactions through online digital platforms, whether it be payments, insurance, investments, banking, etc… They are also quite picky in choosing the platform that’s most convenient for them. Fintechs so far have not failed to cater to this expectation. They have managed to digitize the most minor transactions such as splitting the bill at a restaurant, to the most major transactions such as taking out a loan to start a business.
Did the Pandemic Affect the Attitudes Towards Digital Wallets?
There is no doubt that the pandemic played a pivotal role in accelerating the use of digital wallets and the reliance on digital payment methods. This quick rise in the use of these methods was seen across almost all generations – though at varying levels for each generation.
Gen Z and Millennials were the quickest and largest in number to quickly adopt digital payment platforms as an alternative to traditional ones. This might be the case because they are already quite familiar with their use. In other words, they will not be making a lot of effort to make the switch.
In particular, the preference for contactless payments, peer-to-peer and buy-now-pay-later (BNPL) has grown rapidly. In-store purchases, online purchases with in-store pickups, and the use of cards and cash have massively declined. Consequently, new fintechs have also started to emerge with innovative ideas and plans for this increasing use of digital payment platforms.
Purpl as a Digital Wallet
There really seems to be no limit to what fintechs are capable of achieving and creating in order to simplify our lives and keep us connected. We can only expect the use of digital payment methods to rise exponentially within the upcoming years. Consequently, the need for Fintechs to keep on catering to their users has become an exciting challenge.
Purpl intends to launch a digital wallet that will integrate as many financial solutions as possible. In a fast-paced world, and launching in a country where the population has completely lost trust in traditional payment methods, we at Purpl aim to provide services that ensure that our community will remain connected, safe, and satisfied.
Written by: Maria Sawaya