The following is written by Lance Boyer, a recent college graduate and a Gen Z journalist.
Generation Z made up about 40% of active U.S. consumers in 2020, according to Fast Company. It also has more buying power than any of the Generation X, Boomer, or Silent generations. And it’s growing rapidly.
Generation Z is better off than the Millennial generation too. “Core” Millennials graduated high school and college into one of the worst economies in living memory. Despite the pandemic recession, Generation Z’s job and earning prospects have improved.
Financial technology providers can’t ignore Gen Z any longer. If you’re in the business of making budgeting, banking, and investing accessible to mobile users in the United States, you need to tailor your offerings to Gen Z — and now, not in 10 years.
That means designing your mobile app with younger users in mind. Here’s where to start.
5 Key Mobile Features for Gen Z Users
If you plan to market your mobile fintech app to Gen Z users, ensure it includes these five features.
1. A Unified View of User Finances
Most of the best personal finance apps have something in common: they give users a unified view of their finances inside and outside the app.
Your app shouldn’t only show balance and transaction information for accounts accessible directly through the app (if any). It should also display real-time or near real-time data from securely linked external accounts. It’s ultimately the user’s choice to link or not link these accounts, but your app should create as little friction as possible in that decision.
This adds a layer of development complexity for apps with money management functionality, as opposed to “simpler” budgeting apps that should link to external accounts. But it’s well worth the added investment and will increasingly become essential as the lines between banking and budgeting apps blur.
2. Social Sharing Capabilities
And not just standard Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat integrations. That’s old news.
Your app needs to make it easy — and fun and worthwhile — for users to generate their own content within the interface. Venmo does this simply but very well by allowing users to make transaction details public. Find an equal balance between privacy and disclosure in your product.
3. Stringent Privacy Controls (Beyond What’s Required by Law)
Your fintech app should have stringent privacy controls above and beyond what’s required by applicable law.
Your app shouldn’t make “low privacy” the default, and certainly not because you’re banking on monetizing your users’ data. That data is valuable, but you should come by it honestly. Gen Z is much more digital savvy than older generations and knows “if you’re not paying, you’re the product.”
You can undoubtedly incentivize users to share more with a freemium model or rewards for more sharing if you make it clear that you have users’ interests at heart.
4. Flexible Subscription Options
The more control you give your users over how and when they pay for your product, the more trust you’ll earn and the more you’ll make from them in the long run.
Don’t overcomplicate your payment options. Too many choices paralyze the user. Simple, straightforward payment verticals — one for pay as you go, one for pay for what you use, one for annual or quarterly subscriptions, and so on — are the way to go.
5. On-Call Support
The misconception that Gen Z doesn’t like talking to real humans must go away. Sure, the average Gen Z’er isn’t apt to chat on the phone for hours, but if you consider texting a form of talking — and it is — then Gen Z is just as chatty as its predecessors.
Maybe, more importantly, Gen Z is happier to be micromanaged than its predecessors. The average Gen Z’er seeks positive reinforcement and isn’t afraid to ask questions.
Lean into these preferences by investing in on-call support for your fintech app. This is a big ask for smaller enterprises, so it’s OK to charge for this service as long as it’s optional. Albert’s Genius function is a great example. It’s a built-in financial sherpa operating on a pay-what-you-want model, starting at a few dollars per month.
Generation Z makes up a larger percentage of active U.S. consumers than the Millennial generation, and it’s about to have more buying power. Its oldest members are already aging into the coveted 25-to-54 age demographic.
If your fintech app isn’t tailored to Gen Z’s preferences, you’re already behind the curve.
Fortunately, your development team doesn’t have to reinvent the wheel to appeal to Generation Z. Including five key value propositions does the trick:
- A single-dashboard view of user finances — both in the app and in external linked accounts
- Seamless social sharing capabilities and user-generated content tools
- Stringent privacy controls that keep users in the driver’s seat
- Flexible payment options rather than one-size-fits-all subscription or flat-fee models
- On-call human support, whether free or paid
These “big five” are just the start. You’ll likely find your younger users demanding additional features and functions. But the big five are non-negotiable. The sooner you work on them, the better.