2015 Millennial Money Mindset Report: The Banking Barometer

By Shane Steele
October 1, 2015

Our research team surveyed 1,262 people age 21-35 using SurveyMonkey Audience to understand what they look for in a bank today. Here’s what we learned.

Millennials are surprisingly similar to their parents when it comes to one thing–where they chose to open their current bank account. What’s more surprising is that many have stuck with their bank for years even though they are overwhelmingly dissatisfied, and would not recommend their bank to a friend.

The findings from the Banking Barometer indicate that the traditional banks of their parents’ generation are just not cutting it anymore. This mobile-first generation prefers using a smartphone to manage their banking needs over walking into a bank branch. They want more mobile-friendly features that aren’t offered at their current bank. And they want to get rewarded for their business.

Can’t get no (banking) satisfaction
Net Promoter Score® (NPS) is a common tool for determining customer satisfaction. It measures the likelihood that someone will recommend a company to someone else. While each industry varies in terms typical score, best in class companies target positive NPS scores in the high double digits. The banking industry, however, has typically been in negative territory. Our research confirmed that Millennials are seriously unsatisfied when it comes to their current bank relationship.

  • Most Millennials would not recommend their bank to a friend; the Average NPS among Millennials for their current bank is -6.

Mobile banking for the mobile generation
Millennials grew up as a mobile generation and have grown accustomed to transitioning much of their time, attention, and day-to-day interactions to their smartphone device. Now they’re looking to do the same with their personal banking interactions.

  • 88% of Millennial respondents would prefer to never visit a physical bank branch for their banking needs. Their preferred method for banking is via the bank’s mobile app, followed by the bank’s website.
  • 62% of Millennial respondents want to receive real-time notifications to their phone every time their debit card is used for a transaction, but almost 80% aren’t getting notifications from their bank.

Millennials avoid credit and want rewards
Millennials are facing increasing student debt, while also struggling to start out and build successful careers. Unlike their parent’s generation, they don’t want credit cards, they want to be in control of their money and understand how to get out of debt as quickly as possible.

  • 68% of Millennials had one or more loans with the most prevalent being student loans followed by credit card debt, auto loans, and mortgages.
  • 80% say it’s important or very important to have a reward program with their primary spending card, yet 68% of people who prefer to use debit cards are not getting rewards on their primary account.
  • 66% of Millennial respondents would prefer a debit card with rewards instead of a credit card with rewards. When choosing between debit vs. credit in general, the vast majority want to avoid getting into trouble and want to stay in control with 67% of Millennials preferring debit cards over credit cards.

What does this data mean for the industry?
With Millennials being the largest living generation in the U.S. (almost 80 million between the ages of 15-34), our study shows that the banking industry is primed for a huge transition. While some millennials may be hanging on to their parent’s bank, many are choosing alternatives with better experiences that allow them to manage all of their banking needs on the go while helping them stay in control, save money, and get rewarded for their business. The mobile banking wave is starting to usher in a tidal wave of change toward mobile-first solutions that also put the customer first.


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