By Joseph Weathered
The payment industry is evolving. Each year, new services and applications for financial transactions emerge. Platforms like PayPal, Google Pay, Apple Pay and Zelle are increasing in popularity as society as a whole continues to become more digitized. Customers demand digital products and, in response, The Milford Bank sees their value and offers our customers a variety of digital products geared from everything to sending money person to person to providing assistance in setting and fulfilling savings goals. But, even though there’s a huge population of digital natives with bank accounts, it’s not entirely 100% digital; cash and checks are still more prevalent than many might expect, even with Millennials.
Yes, we saw check usage drop significantly from 2000-2012, as new digital and mobile apps hit the market and drew interest. But, that decline has since slowed and, from 2016-2017, the value of check payments actually increased.
Despite having digital-first tendencies, more Millennials use checks (42%) than own video game consoles. As it turns out, this generation, which has recently become the single largest population group in the U.S. workforce, uses checks and mobile wallets somewhat evenly. About 37% of surveyed said they had written a check in the past month, and 38% said they had paid with a mobile wallet in that same time frame.
We understand Millennials are very tech-centric but what most people don’t recognize is that, at the same time, they haven’t shunned traditional alternatives, especially when it comes to their finances. The truth is they use both digital and traditional banking products. Maybe it’s more accurate to say they are opportunistic, especially considering a low tolerance for poor customer service and greater willingness to switch their consumer and banking habits than older generations. In other words, it’s tough to build brand loyalty with younger customers.
But, even though Millennials are known to be quick to switch brands after a poor experience, switching banks is a hassle – much more so than switching phone carriers. In turn, Millennials seek out a financial institutions that cater to their preferences. While the national brands may have greater visibility, The Milford Bank, through exceptional customer service and an understanding of the communities we exist within have advantages that play into Millennials’ needs.
The Milford Bank has strong local and community roots within New Haven and Fairfield County. Because of our local roots, we are able to be more engaged with our customers and communities, and are able to create a stronger bond with our customers, including Millennials. However, It doesn’t mean that the product portfolio is limited; to the contrary The Milford Bank is able to offer a variety of services that the customer, regardless of age can use, whether it is a digital product such as Zelle or a high interest, reward based checking service such as Kasasa.
With a better understanding of the customer, The Milford Bank is able to provide a combination of traditional and modern products which, along with exceptional customer service is one of the key factors that Millennial customers gravitate towards and value.