While consumers as a whole, regardless of age, are migrating away from traditional payment methods toward digital ones, they lack synchronicity. As you might guess, each generation has different preferences in how they send and receive payments, and how they manage their bills overall. Looking ahead to the rest of 2020 and beyond, it will be critical for business leaders and decision makers to not only take stock of the generational groups their customer base represents, but also understand the payment and billing preferences for each demographic to ensure they are delivering the options their customers seek.

Consider some of the following generational preferences, which need to be accounted for when tailoring a payments strategy and marketing to each group.

Baby Boomers

In the payments space, Baby Boomers (those in their mid-fifties to mid-seventies) have been somewhat misunderstood and misrepresented. While overall less tech-savvy than younger generations, boomers are looking for convenient and efficient ways to pay their bills.

In fact, only 43 percent of Baby Boomers aged 52-70 have used paper checks to pay bills over the last year, while the majority (75.6%) have used the more real-time method of checking account deduction, according the ACI Speedpay Pulse. When it comes to mobile payments, baby boomers’ usage is lower, but not as much as you might think. According to The Pew Charitable Trust, this group is starting to adopt mobile payments, though some remain hesitant — not because they lack trust in technology, but because they simply prefer to use cash.

For billers that are marketing to the baby boomer audience, it’s important to provide both traditional and digital options for payments. This group might be the highest user of more traditional methods, like paper checks, but they’re starting to get the hang of digital methods as well.

Generation X

Considering Generation X came of age during the prime years of the credit card boom, it is unsurprising that, according to Pew, they prefer paying by card. In fact, they are more likely to have credit card debt than both Millennials and Baby Boomers. When it comes to mobile payments, Gen X is slightly farther along in adoption, but they still have a long way to go. While 83 percent of Gen X own smartphones, they’re less inclined to use mobile payments to make a purchase compared to Millennials.

To address Gen X’s split preferences, consider implementing educational programs that show them the benefits of a more digital and real-time approach to paying their bills. Give them reasons to go fully digital.

Millennials and Generation Z

The younger end of these demographic cohorts came into a world that was already buzzing with digital payment options. It’s only natural they use these methods to which they are so accustomed. According to the ACI Speedpay Pulse, these groups are significantly more likely than older consumers to prefer paying bills with a debit card and are more likely to cut down on paper billing statements by selecting digital options. Even more than older generations, younger consumers expect speed and seamlessness when it comes to their billing and payment experiences.

Therefore, billers with a younger customer base should keep these preferences in mind and make sure they are offering fast, seamless experiences to increase customer satisfaction and loyalty. Consider partnering with a bill payments provider that can bring the speed and real-time experience that Millennials and Gen Z crave.

While each generation has different preferences in how they receive and pay their bills, all are increasingly embracing digital methods. It is important to take a deep look at what each generation expects, and to evolve to meet these changing demands.

To learn more, check out our the 2020 ACI Speedpay Pulse report, which dives deeper into digital differences and other current bill payment trends.

Director, Product Marketing

Steve is a seasoned marketing professional with an extensive background in driving usage and adoption of financial products and services including credit cards, mobile/online bill payment, and card-based reward programs.