Blog How fintech apps can acquire the coveted...

How fintech apps can acquire the coveted Gen Z

The first-ever digital natives, Gen Z (1997-2012), boast a population of two billion people worldwide. They are young, tech-savvy, and are most accustomed to apps assisting them in their everyday lives, including in finance, payment, and banking. As this generation begins to step into adulthood, they are seeking out fintech apps to help them gain financial independence, with 51% of Gen Z consumers naming a fintech company as their most trusted financial institution.

Therefore, fintech app developers and marketers are rushing to revise their offerings and creatives to attract Gen Zers. However, as this generation rejects a “one-size fits all” approach, fintech apps must bring specific and unique value to their users to turn Gen Z heads. We’ve compiled a list of areas fintech apps can invest in to acquire this sought-after generation successfully.

Why is Gen Z so valuable to fintech apps?

Despite its youngest members being only ten years old, Gen Z has already racked up US$360 billion in disposable income in the U.S. alone, as they save about a third of their income on average. And with six out of ten using mobile devices for digital payments, fintech apps stand to gain a substantial amount of this disposable income.

As Gen Zers join the workforce, more are looking into investing and budgeting. Studies found that 62% of today’s 18-24 year-olds are investing, and 57% already use apps to invest. In fact, during the pandemic, Gen Z doubled the time spent on finance and trading apps, revealing genuine interest in their financial state. This healthy appetite for investment and saving, along with this generation’s growing spending power, make it a key demographic for fintech apps to pursue.

6 ways fintech apps can market to Gen Zers

If your fintech app is positioned to seamlessly fill a service need, that’s great, but it likely won’t be enough to catch Gen Zers’ eyes. Having grown up with technology at their fingertips, Gen Z will sift through apps to select those that match their identity and values. Note that ease of use, speed, and full functionality aren’t considerations but baseline expectations for their apps.

Consider the tips below on how to make your fintech app attractive to Gen Z.

1. Offer hyper-personalized services

Like Alicia Silverstone’s yellow plaid suit defined the 90s hit “Clueless”, apps in a Gen Zer’s phone define them. Today, young people are looking for apps that reflect their values. Quirk, a personality-based money management app, throws all of its marketing towards Gen Z, telling potential users, “Add personality to your boring ol’bank”. The finance app prompts potential users to uncover their “true money self” by taking a personality test and providing an overview of their financial behaviors. The app will then give users insights based on the test and help them manage their finances.

App store screenshots of Quirk showing personalized portfolios for Gen Z

2. Educate and advise on financial topics

According to recent studies, 74% of Gen Z experience increased mental stress due to managing personal financial challenges. Second to consulting family members, 38.8% of Gen Zers learn about personal finance from YouTube, TikTok, or other social media platforms. For example, the hashtag #PersonalFinance on TikTok has seen more than 4.4 billion views and #StockTok 1.4 billion views. These statistics make clear Gen Z’s craving for financial education and literacy.

Fintech apps can become a trusted source of advice for Gen Z if they offer educational content on social media covering topics like budgeting, investment, cryptocurrencies, and more. But apps can also provide in-app advice services, like the budgeting app Mint, which provides advice based on the user’s spending habits. Consider utilizing notifications to suggest tailored investment plans to your users.

The app MoneyLion, a mobile banking app, went beyond social media and push notifications to offer in-app finance courses. MoneyLion recently partnered with Zogo, a financial literacy company geared toward Gen Z, to allow MoneyLion’s users seamless access to Zogo’s bite-sized financial education modules within the MoneyLion app’s feed content in an effort to help users “achieve their money goals…[and] improve their financial health with a hyper-personalized in-app feed.”

3. Implement alternative payment methods

The younger generation is raising the bar for payment methods, demanding apps go beyond credit card payment methods. Only 27% of Gen Z use store credit cards; they prefer instead debit, peer-to-peer (P2P), and buy-now-pay-later (BNPL) payment options. In the U.S., PayPal is the most popular P2P platform, but 46% of Gen Z also utilize Cash App, 44% Apple Pay, and 27% Apple Cash. Fintech app developers, particularly those for crypto or trading apps, should research which payment methods they can integrate into their app to satisfy Gen Z. For instance, Cash App announced this year a Cash App Pay for Developers, which allows developers to offer all Square and Cash App Pay options with a single integration.

4. Make finance management engaging

As more young people come of age, they are looking for institutions and apps that will help them make smarter financial decisions. Fintech apps that invest in personalized offerings, gamified learning, and Gen Z-oriented branding will likely acquire more users than an app that’s merely functional.

Savings app, Long Game Rewards, lets users connect their savings accounts from partner banks to the app. Then, users can play mini-games and enter a weekly lottery to add up to US$1000 to their savings accounts. Plus, users can earn free crypto for saving and playing within the app.

Or take inspiration from the attitude-filled app Cleo. Billed as the “no b.s.” financial health app, Cleo helps users budget using gifs and sass. The app offers a range of tools, including AI-powered “hype” and “roast” modes that will either reward or fine users to help them stay on top of their financial goals.

App screenshots of the budgeting app for Gen Z Cleo

5. Go ahead, enlist a finfluencer

Gen Z can be distrustful of messages from the government and large corporate bodies, instead taking recommendations from friends, family members, and trusted influencers. In fact, this generation is almost five times more likely to get financial advice from social media than adults who are 41 and older. Enter the age of finfluencers. Finfluencers are influencers who focus on creating entertaining money-related content.

Take a look at Mrs. Dow Jones, who delivers actionable advice on growing personal wealth with pop culture money lessons on YouTube. Similarly, ex-financial advisor Humphrey Yang also has a YouTube channel, but his humpreytalks short videos on TikTok covering everything from mortgage rates to taxes on stock have become wildly popular lately, enjoying over 3.3 million followers.

The key to success lies in matching a finfluencer to your campaign and target audience.

For example, U.K. fintech Plum built an app that utilizes AI to help its users save and invest. The brand partnered with finfluencers like @mrtradingrobot to advertise a “52-week savings challenge” in which the app would take away £1 GBP from a user’s linked bank account in week one and £2 GBP in week two and so on so that users could ultimately save GBP 1378 in one year. The campaign saw great success as @mrtradingrobot’s TikTok channel centers on education and his followers trust him to act on his recommendation to save with the Plum app.

6. Incorporate your company’s values into your product

Did you know that more than four out of five Gen Zers factor in Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance (ESG) into their investment choices? This has not escaped the notice of the financial industry at large as more than 100 mutual funds and ETFs have been revamped with an ESG tilt.

Fintech apps are quickly following suit. Banking app Bunq has become popular with European Gen Zers as it allows users to become CO2-free in two years by planting a tree for every EU€100 spent. Similarly, the investment app Trine offers users investment opportunities that work toward a greener future, from solar to accessible electricity projects up for grabs.

What your fintech app stands for and how it impacts your community and surrounding environment are aspects of your brand that Gen Z will examine. Therefore, it’s essential to pinpoint your app’s current ESG relevance and how you can amplify your values with your app’s users and potential customers.

Reflection questions for fintech apps on ESG:

  • How is my app benefiting the environment?
  • What social value is my company providing?
  • Is my brand transparent regarding data privacy, regulations, and compliance?

When looking at your fintech in light of ESG, is there one aspect that your company is strongest in? If so, lean into that and strengthen your standing. But note: Gen Z values authenticity and will not pay attention to companies who greenwash their brands. So, truly invest in your company’s ESG factors.

Thirsty for more trends? Get your copy of our Mobile app trends 2022 report to snag fintech statistics on install growth, session trends, user patterns, as well as key retention benchmarks or to take a deep dive into the fintech goldrush in the INSEA region, check out our report made in partnership with MAAS here.

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