The History of Fintech Vol. 6: Back to the Future Vol. 2 – Gen Z

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Ask a member of Generation Z what a cassette tape is and they’ll stare at you blankly, until their attention runs out, after roughly 8 seconds, and then return to their smartphones.

Analogue is over, and digital is king. Shopping, smoking, and music have all gone digital. So has finance. The days of popping into your local bank’s high street branch to speak to a real human being about a financial product are long gone. The age of man is over, the age of the chatbot has begun.

Fintech will begin to tailor its products more and more to fit in with Gen Z sensibilities. Fintech has done for the millennial, and now it must follow suit for their successors. The History of Fintech Vol.6: Back to the Future Vol. 2 – Gen Z looks at how Generation Z will shape future of fintech.

And the defining Gen Z characteristic? A complete lack of experience of a pre-digital world. God, imagine a world without Snapchat, Spotify and Netflix. A world where the greatest entertainment available is a small wooden cup, with a small wooden ball tied to it. Quite literally hell on earth.

As Gen Z becomes a larger stakeholder in society, digital first finance will snowball - crushing the remaining physical bank branches under its increasing mass as it motors into the future.

According to a Salesforce research report, 75% of Millennials rely on mobile banking to perform basic money management tasks. Gen Z will raise that figure. Their lives revolve around a smartphone, and any solution that doesn’t follow suit will sink. Sink like a wooden cup and ball.

The smartphone will be the epicentre of future consumer finance. Even now, in 2020, online banking sounds old fashioned. Gen Z use laptops far less often than a phone, and it is the mobile banking experience financial providers will be judged on. Gen Z don’t choose a bank, they choose a banking app they like. And they are fickle. Oh such a fickle generation. Expect to see more resources pumped into developing the perfect app experience, and brand loyalty to get thrown into the dustbin of history. Like the wooden cup and ball.

The future of fintech will see the demise of that ancient British cultural trope, the queue. That once great British institution will die with Gen Z. They won’t wait in call queues, or endure a multi-step account verification process. The fintechs to prosper will be the ones that create frictionless processes in as many areas as possible – from sign-up to customer care.

AI will perform more of the tasks the humans of yesteryear did. Gen Z and Millennials are the first ‘always online’ generation, and that means it is essential to have an ‘always on’ service. Chatbots are the most efficient way to create this ‘always on’ service at scale. First the chatbots takeover, and before long we’ll end up in robot induced martial curfew – like in I, Robot. Probably.

The influence of Generation Z will change fintech. We have seen finance and tech work hand in hand to create a user experience optimised for the Millennial, but as Gen Z becomes a larger stakeholder in society, products will begin to be designed with them front of mind.

Pro-chatbot, anti-queue and mobile first, this is the first generation to have never used a floppy disk. They won’t settle for clunky systems and process. Things will change. Expect to be derisively called ‘grandad/grandma’ for remembering a time with physical banks, cheques and the wooden cup and ball.