Skip to content

Gen Z: A Day In The (Payments) Life

gen z payment habits

There has been an immense focus placed on the ‘Millennial’ generation, and for good reason, as they have become a driving force in the future of payments. This generation looks to technology to solve their payments needs—and it’s all about the factors of convenience, speed and flexibility. And as a college student, my typical daily ‘payments routines’ reflect these factors. With that, I wanted to share a snapshot, which I think demonstrates how my own demographic is influencing the payments industry.

8:00AM: Morning activities

As I brushed my teeth, I noticed I was running low on hand soap, so with one click from my Amazon Prime account, I had two bottles on their way.  I glanced at my email, and I noticed my favorite clothing store was having a sale. So, I logged into my account and purchased the sneakers I had been eyeing for over a month. I do most of my shopping online; I usually find the biggest selection at the best prices, and with digital payment methods saved in my profile, the buying experience is effortless.

I had time before class, so I booked an Airbnb for an upcoming trip to Chicago. Payment for services in the sharing economy (such as Airbnb) is quick, simple, and transparent – without hidden fees; I could reserve a room quickly and safely using my Visa Debit card.

10:00AM: School

I drove to class, and I parked at a meter. Using a parking app installed on my phone, I paid the meter for two hours. I stopped at a Starbucks on the way to class, where I used the Starbucks mobile app to purchase a tall cappuccino. With a simple tap of my phone, my order was waiting for me as soon as I arrived, and seconds later, I was on my way to class with time to spare.

12:30PM: Lunch

After class, my roommates and I decided to order Blaze pizza. I ordered and paid for our pizzas online, and because I already had an account set up with my payment details, the process was quick and easy. Fifteen minutes later, my roommate was picking up our pizzas! My friends reimbursed me with the Venmo app, which transferred money immediately into my account. Using Venmo to exchange money made it easy for everyone to pay; it’s my top choice for P2P transactions. Soon mobile payment apps such as Venmo will be able to provide real-time payments, with instant performance and stronger security.

4:00PM: Work

As I drove to work, I remembered it was payday. I have my paychecks direct-deposited, and I use online banking to manage my money. Being paid digitally means I have immediate access to my money, and since I’m accustomed to immediacy and constant access to services, mobile banking is ideal for me. The emerging technology of Open Banking will allow consumers access to bank data in real time, providing further options for securely managing wealth through online banking solutions. I will be able to forecast based on my previous transactions, which will be invaluable for budgeting. For instance, recognizing that I get paid on the 14th and have rent due on the 25th, the Open Banking platform will be able to provide and predict accurate information to help me figure out how much to save and what discretionary income will be available.

After work, I stop by the campus dining hall for dinner. I swipe my Student ID card, which was prepaid at the beginning of the semester, and before you know it I’m loading up on food.

8:00PM: An evening with friends

My roommates and I invited friends over. We were sitting around listening to music from our Spotify subscription through our Bluetooth speaker, when I heard a song I liked on my friend’s playlist. I used Shazam to find out the artist’s name, and went into my iTunes app to buy the song and add it to my playlist. The song downloaded immediately, as my payment information was already registered and stored in my account.

Later, using the subscription service PlayStation Network, we were playing Fortnight online against friends by. Once we’d dominated at video games, we decided to enjoy some nightlife downtown. We used the Uber app to call for transportation. Not only are ride-sharing apps convenient, but the cost is transparent, payment is simple, and communication is easy. By having an account, my payment information was saved, and the company offers direct rewards and promotions right through the app.

10:30PM: Relaxing

We ended the night back at our apartment watching episodes of The Office through my Netflix subscription service. Netflix, Xbox Live, and Spotify are all streaming subscription services we use frequently, making small, monthly payments for custom access to all our media content needs.

An (electronic payments) revolution is among us, with technology rapidly changing the way consumers, especially the younger generation, make payments. Easy access to a variety of payment technology solutions makes sending and receiving money easier and more efficient. Even though some trepidation still exists in the digital payments market, the rapid adoption of digital payments technology is paving the way for them to become the norm.


Interested in finding out more about the mega trends that are shaping payments, or emerging role of real-time in the global payments landscape? Register to secure your spot in our upcoming live webinar: 2018 Global Payment Insight Series - North America Edition: A Conversation With Ovum & ACI, Thursday, May 29 at 12:30pm ET.