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Targeting the Millennial Market

Millenial Banking

Millennials are the fastest growing and largest population segment in the United States with more than 75 million men and women.

Visa’s proprietary Payment Panel data indicates that millennials use cards for 57 percent of their spending, and with increasing wages and reduced debt, they’re an attractive target for debit and credit card marketing. 

They’re willing to migrate cash and other transactions to card products, when designed for their needs. Millennials are also more likely to revolve and pay fees.

Millennial product packages

The needs of millennials vary depending on their ages and life stages, as their needs change over time. Your product portfolio should offer a variety of products to meet their needs as they mature. 

Consider offering:

  • Prepaid products (i.e., teen cards) to younger millennials starting in their mid-teens 

  • Prepaid cards and DDA accounts with debit cards in their late teens 

  • Credit cards to those in their early to mid-20s, as students head off to college and enter the work force 

  • Companion prepaid cards for older millennials 

  • Mobile person-to-person (P2P) payment capabilities to transfer funds 

Card features + benefits

When choosing a new credit card, millennials generally look for the same primary card features as other age segments.

  • Low fees and fee waivers 

  • Competitive rates 

  • Sign-up rewards 

  • Balance transfer offers 

However, millennials differ in their needs related to budgeting and building credit. Visa research indicates that despite a desire to do so, many millennials lack the information they need to build credit. Without this information, millennials may avoid or delay credit card use, which contributes to this group having the lowest average credit score of any age group and more than 50 points below the national average.

Younger millennials avoid credit because they have an aversion to debt. By offering credit building education and tools, such as free FICO scores, issuers can support millennial customers in building credit and becoming comfortable using credit.

Budgeting tools

Millennials use personal financial management (PFM) tools more often than other age segments. They're budget-oriented and use personal financial management tools. Forty percent of consumers who use finance apps or visit mobile finance websites in a typical month are millennials⁸ . By offering budgeting apps and tools, you can provide a valuable service while creating a better relationship with your customers.

Appealing to millennials

Establish your institution as a partner in helping customers build and use credit wisely by providing credit-building and budgeting apps and tools. Budgeting capabilities should be included in mobile apps to reach millennials through their desired channel. As an example, you can: 

  • Provide credit education and credit-building benefits for millennial accounts 

  • Use a multichannel approach to deliver content, with focus on web and social channels 

  • Develop "bite-sized" and engaging content that can be included in acquisition and account management communications 

  • Consider offering customers a full financial picture beyond accounts held with your institution 

Specific features and benefits to offer 

Make products more appealing to millennials by incorporating the following features and benefits:


Preferred features

Preferred benefits

  • Budgeting tools and solutions 

  • Virtual account numbers 

  • Person-to-Person (P2P) payments 

  • Mobile check deposit 

  • Mobile payments 

  • Visa Checkout

  • Financial education 

  • Security education and alerts



  • Virtual account numbers 

  • Person-to-Person (P2P) payments 

  • Mobile payments 

  • Visa Checkout

  • Rewards cards (ideally cash-back rewards) 

  • Credit education with FICO Scores 

  • Custom benefits and offers with relevant merchant category codes (MCCs) and merchants

As Gen Z starts entering adulthood, financial institutions are beginning to ask what the new generation wants in terms of lending, and how will they choose to access it? For the executives who’ve been busy serving up financial products to millennials, there is an additional question on everyone’s mind — will this new generation be as slow to adopt credit cards and personal loans as millennials, or is it going to be different? 

Gen Z is defined as consumers born between 1995 and 2010, so the oldest are just 24 and the youngest are still in grade school at the ripe age of nine. Millennials, born between 1980 and 1994 range in age between 25 and 39 years. 

While Gen Z is just beginning to transition into adulthood there are some healthy indicators of how it is approaching credit as well as how it manages debt.

“We are always interested to see new generations come into the market and determine if they are going to act like the previous one [millennials] or their parents [Gen X and Boomers] when it comes to obtaining credit," said Matt Komos, vice president of financial services and consulting at TransUnion. "What we see with Gen Z is that they are very willing to take advantage of certain financial products such as credit cards.” 

The dramatic growth of credit balances among Gen Z consumers was the fastest of all generations in the past year. According to the Q2 2019 TransUnion Industry Insights Report, Gen Z grew its overall credit balances by 29% in Q2 2019 from the same quarter in 2018. In comparison, the Silent Generation and Boomers were declining in their overall debt load. 


For banks, credit unions, and fintech lenders this a clear signal that Gen Z are not like millennials, who delayed the uptake of certain financial products such as credit cards, auto loans and mortgages.