Gen Z: Financially & Digitally Savvy, They Want Traditional Services Too

Counterintuitive findings on members of the Gen Z cohort revealed they are more eager for financial education and have done more to further their knowledge of financial matters than preceding generations.

The research – “Generation Z: The Kids Are All Right,” based on a survey of 2,500 high school students aged 16 to 18 – from Lombard, Ill based Raddon, a Fiserv company, also shows them with some traditional banking preferences.

The research finds that 56% of Gen Z respondents believe programs or seminars from financial institutions are very or extremely important sources of personal finance information. Thirty-five percent of Gen Z have attended a financial education program or seminar, compared to only 12% of millennials, 11% of Gen X, and 16% of both baby boomers and traditionalists.

“Gen Z will soon step into the spotlight as they begin to enter adulthood and take on the financial responsibility it brings,” Bill Handel, vice president of research, Raddon, said. “By taking the time to better understand this generation’s priorities and preferences for moving and managing money, financial service providers have an opportunity to establish relationships that will last a lifetime.”

Gen Z represents the first generation of true digital natives, a world of constant connectivity via mobile devices and social media and factors that will influence how and where they bank.

Therefore, Gen Z is more likely to say they envision a future where technology companies supplement credit unions or banks. The study finds 44% of Gen Z anticipate supplementing traditional banking services with solutions from technology companies, compared to only 28% of millennials and 23% of Gen X.

The majority of Gen Z are not financial newbies, as 67% already have an account at a financial institution, either on their own or as a joint account with their parents. Another 4% have had an account in the past.

Based on their attitudes towards technology, delivery channels, alternative providers and traditional financial institutions, three distinct segments of Gen Z emerged in the research:

  • Conventionals: Thirty-four percent express a preference for banking much like their grandparents did, face-to-face at a credit union or bank. They trust financial institutions and are distrustful of technology companies entering the banking space to provide financial services.
  • Digitals: Another 37% of Gen Z said they prefer to bank through digital or electronic channels, relying on services such as mobile banking provided by a credit union or bank. While they believe that technology companies will impact financial services, they believe they will still have to rely on traditional providers in the future.
  • Pioneers: Twenty-eight percent of Gen Z stands on the bleeding edge of technology. They think all financial institutions are the same and want to bank in a way most convenient for them. They believe an array of providers will supply their future financial service’s needs.


The study also revealed regardless of segment, communication is key to Gen Z. Winning their business will require services and strategies that speak to their unique experiences and preferences.

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