Meaningful Millennials: A New Age of Payment


Today we are launching a new weekly series entitled “Meaningful Millennials”, where we will interview millennials on a variety of different subjects.

At Emotive Brand, because of current client work and upcoming pitches, we have FinTech on the brain. So our first week’s focus is “Payments.”

Our question: What makes payment brands meaningful to and successful with millennials?

We surveyed twelve millennials and here’s what we learned.

FinTech brands can’t just be convenient. If your brand wants to be meaningful to and successful with millennials, you need to instill confidence and emote feelings of trust and security – all while making us feel social and connected.

Millennials want tech that makes them feel like they belong. FinTech brands need to build brand environments that inspire our confidence at every touch point, promoting and driving social flow.

What these millennials have to say.


“I only use Venmo and Uber, if you consider that a payment method. I love Venmo because it makes life so much easier. I feel completely safe using it (unlike some people) and definitely think that’s where the future is headed. I imagine that in the future, wallets will only be used for IDs. Your phone will hold all your money. It’s already happening to some extent, but it’ll take time for full buying, similar to how no one has a house phone anymore.”

—Alex Morrison, Security Analyst, Goldman Sachs



“I use Venmo and PayPal. I think that they are great because they make digital transactions really easy, and make me feel connected. The downside is that they also make it a lot easier to be financially irresponsible. Also there are security concerns, but I use them anyway.”

—Ingrid Chang, Jr. Interactive Designer, 72andSunny



“I have used Venmo a couple of times, but I hate it. I am not exactly convinced that an app with as small a staff as Venmo has the capability to protect me from fraud or other forms of theft. Maybe I’m just an old man in a 23-year-old’s body.”

—Wajdi Mallat, Paralegal, Clifford Chance



“I use Venmo to even out with friends and family, and the organization I work for uses Intuit (direct deposit to employees). I love the convenience of these electronic apps and that they are paperless. Sometimes I get nervous about security. I feel like my banking info is in more places than ideal nowadays, but worth the risk for the convenience and paperless-ness. Regarding the future, more and more, finance can be handled from one’s phone, from wherever one is in that moment. The bank where I have my checking account set up doesn’t even have a branch where I live (there’s an ATM, but that’s it). I haven’t actually visited a bank in person for a couple of years.”

—Chloe Jones, Development Coordinator, The Yard



“I like using my credit card the most because it’s easy and I get rewards. Some places don’t take card so I have to write checks like for my rent, which is annoying, but it’s fine. I’m nervous to use anything hooked up to my phone that saves my card number. I used Venmo once and it does seem easy, but I still don’t trust it. I just don’t like anything online saving my card info.”

—Sarah H., Engineer, Boeing



“I only use Venmo and I love it. It solves all of the awkwardness of owing people weird amounts of money or paying people back immediately. I don’t necessarily think there is a ton of value in the social aspect of Venmo, besides being able to find friends/contacts more quickly. It’s all about convenience though and totally changes the way people use money.”

—Kunal Patel, Technology Analyst, Accenture



“I use Venmo and the Bank of America app for transfers. I don’t carry cash around ever, so I love Venmo. It’s an easy way to remind people to pay me and it’s so much easier to use when going out with a group. I like the Bank of America app for transfers for larger amounts, mainly splitting rent, groceries, etc. since it feels more secure and the people I make transfers too also have Bank of America. I like the app because I can make the transfer as soon as someone reminds me, instead of having to remember and do it on a desktop later.”

—Masha Popelyukhina, Account Coordinator, Gorilla 76



“Other than cash or cards, I use Venmo very often. I can’t imagine life without Venmo anymore. Not only does it help split payments with friends more easily, but it also gets rid of the awkwardness of reminding people if they owe you money. It also means I don’t really need to carry much cash around anymore. I do have a PayPal account, but I don’t really find much use for it.”

—Neha Nair, Associate, SKDKnickerboker



“I use Venmo frequently and have used PayPal maybe twice. I only have PayPal because I was selling a ticket on StubHub and I had to make an account if I wanted to get paid. I think Venmo is super convenient, but I only use it if I’m with a lot of people and I’m out of cash, or if it’s too complicated to split a bill. In my opinion, it has plenty of room to expand its user base, but with just an app I can’t see them making considerable headway into the customer to business, B2C or B2B spaces. If they try to, their service would be really similar to PayPal and I don’t think people would use it much. I think they’ve settled into a good niche and it serves best as an easy way for individuals to swap $$ quickly. That being said, I think in the future they’ll have a pretty similar impact, but a lot more people will have downloaded the app so you won’t even have to ask, “Do you have Venmo?” It will just be commonplace.”

—Brandon Zeiden, Financial Services, Z Gallerie



“I mainly use Venmo, sometimes Apple Pay, and then PayPal for work. I think Venmo is the most revolutionary. It makes daily life so much easier. Although, I think it does is make money less tangible. I treat my Venmo cash completely different than my debit card or cash. It often feels like an arbitrary number. Venmo sucks at keeping track of payments.

For the startup I work for, we use PayPal to pay our contractors. For the app I’m building, we use PayPal to pay our developers, but Venmo for our designers. There are no fees for Venmo and that’s huge. The designers are younger and like this.

I think a lot of people associate PayPal with eBay purchases. It’s not something I think about using every day. I know a lot of people don’t even know that PayPal has a great wallet service that is probably better then Venmo.

I find mobile wallets really interesting and think there is huge potential for the future. Someone needs to build a way that can be used widely to pay for your bill at a restaurant from your phone, and have the ability to select items, and split the bill.”

—Logan Solomon, Partner, Jacked on Joe Innovation



“I really only use Venmo. I prefer to use card or cash, but think it’s a helpful way to pay people back or vice versa. Everything in banking is becoming digitized and apps are becoming a quick, accessible, and easy way to manage your money.”

—Carolyn A., Student, Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri


Here’s what we learned from these millennials.

1. Venmo is the most popular in-app payment solution with millennials.
2. Successful FinTech brand experiences make users feel social and connected.
3. Millennials feel skeptical about security, and want brands that guarantee safety and make their money feel secure.
4. The future of FinTech will be more digital, comprehensive, connected, and pervasive.

Next week, we will continue our “Meaningful Millennial” series, discussing what makes a meaningful workplace.

Emotive Brand is a San Francisco brand strategy firm.

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