Credit Card Processing Blog

Millennials Towards Cash, Digital Wallets, and Cards

July 29, 2016 08:00 AM / by Reliance Star

Now that those in the millennial generation are all grown up, they make up a significant portion of the consumer population. As they continue to get older and progress in their careers, millennials will have significantly more purchasing power than any other generation. As such, it is critical for businesses to understand the buying habits of this demographic in order to stay on top of the current trends that millennials are demanding of the payment processing industry. Read on for some of the best practices your business can enact to ensure that you keep this large segment of the population satisfied with your services.


In today’s digital age, cash is seen as somewhat of a dinosaur for millennials. Although they do still use cash occasionally, typically for smaller purchases like a pack of gum or a soda from a vending machine, it is becoming less and less popular. Because millennials are so entrenched in technology, using this analog format of payment seems outdated and slow to them. They dislike having to wait for change and then having to carry that heavy change around, with some even citing embarrassment when they have to pull out cash to pay for a purchase. Furthermore, the lack of accountability that comes from not having a digital record of the purchase leads them to worry about spending more money without even realizing it.

Credit and Debit Cards

Credit cards and debit cards are by far the preferred method of payment for those in the millennial generation. While older generations often voice concerns about paying with plastic because it doesn’t feel like spending real money, millennials feel the exact opposite.

With their mobile phones, they can check their account balances almost instantly, so they are always aware of exactly how much they are spending and on what. Online banking and bill pay enables them to stay on top of their finances with just a few taps on their smartphone screens. Although hacking and identity theft are growing concerns for members of all generations, the latest cards come with EMV chips, designed to offer unparalleled data security and identity protection.

Digital Wallets

Digital wallets offer even more security by requiring the user’s fingerprint or password for use, although they have not caught on as quickly as early proponents anticipated. However, of all generations, millennials are the most inclined to use this new technology, with over 30 percent saying they will use digital wallets within the next 12 months, compared to 18 percent of the population as a whole.

Given how attached most millennials are to their mobile phones, it is likely that this trend will continue to grow in the near future, particularly if more businesses start adopting it as well. Consumers have expressed their interest in this new technology; now it is up to businesses to catch up with that demand.

How Your Business Can Adapt

It is in the best interests of your business to be as accommodating as possible to the desires of the millennial generation, as they will soon make up the bulk of the consumer population. Although cash will likely still have its role to play for the foreseeable future, more of your focus should be on emerging technologies, like EMV chip card readers and digital wallets, Apple Pay and Android Pay. Stay on top of the rapidly occurring changes in this industry so that your business is not left behind. Although these new technologies do come with an initial cost to acquire the necessary equipment, that investment will pay off in the long run as your customers increasingly begin to demand them.