Millennials Demand Better Fees and Convenience from Financial Services Providers
In Tough Economic Environment, Many Young Americans Use Alternative Financial Services to Bridge Financial Gaps
FORT WORTH, Texas--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Millennials struggling to get a foothold in a challenging economic environment are looking to a range of financial services providers for lower, more transparent fees and convenient access to their money, according to a new study released by Think Finance, a leading developer of online financial products that bridge the gap between payday loans and credit cards.
The survey was conducted online by Harris Interactive, on behalf of Think Finance, among 1,021 Americans ages 18 to 34, and found that Millennials are using a mix of traditional and alternative financial services to meet their needs. While nearly all (92 percent) Millennials report that they currently use a bank, almost half (45 percent) indicate that they have supplemented banking services with some form of alternative financial product or service (e.g., prepaid debit card, money transfer service, check cashing, pawn shop, payday loan, etc.) within the past year. Additionally, an overwhelming majority of Millennials who have used alternative financing (81 percent) say that emergency credit options are at least somewhat important to them. One reason why they may find emergency credit important is that less than half of respondents have an emergency savings fund of at least $1,000.
"The economy is slowly improving, but it's still a tough time to be starting a career and saving for the future," said Ken Rees, President and Chief Executive Officer, Think Finance. "There is a clear desire among the Millennial generation for financial flexibility and the ability to access credit in a pinch. It's also clear that traditional banking products are not meeting all of Millennials' financial needs and that innovative, responsible alternatives are in demand."
Among those who use alternative products and services, the majority rate their experiences as generally positive. At least two-thirds of Millennials report having a very or somewhat positive experience using each product (positive ratings range from 67 - 92 percent, depending on the product).
When asked why they turn to alternative financial services, Millennials who have used them identify the products as more convenient (42 percent), point to lower or more predictable fees (31 percent), and report that the products generally better meet their needs (30 percent).
What Millennials Want from Financial Services
Millennials expect technology access to financial services with more than half of Millennials indicating that their preferred way to handle their banking needs is through their bank's website (56 percent). Additionally, usage of mobile applications for managing finances is emerging with 29 percent reporting that they currently use a mobile app to help manage their money.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, a strong majority of Millennials (83 percent) report that the most important factors to consider when choosing a financial services provider are fee-related.
- Sixty-nine percent identify "no surprise fees," 56 percent cite "no or low fees," 48 percent say "easy to understand fees" and 43 percent point to "no overdraft fees" as the most important factors when choosing a bank or other financial services provider
- Fifty-nine percent say online access to accounts is an important consideration
- A similar proportion cite convenient branch locations (55 percent) and 24/7 access to money (55 percent) as important
Millennials Worried about their Financial Futures
The Millennial generation, notoriously plagued with high levels of student loan debt, is facing a bevy of long-term financial concerns.
- Having enough money for retirement is the issue Millennials worry about the most, with 73 percent reporting that they are very worried, worried or somewhat worried it
- The prospect of dealing with unaffordable health care costs is a close second (71 percent)
- Among Millennials who indicate it applies, 64 percent express some level of worry that they will have trouble affording their rent or mortgage, and the same percentage worry that they'll never be able to buy a home
- Fifty-nine percent of applicable respondents worry that they'll never be able to escape student loan debt
Determined to Succeed Despite Challenges
When asked about their perceptions of the economy and opportunities for achieving personal and financial success in today's environment, most Millennials expressed a downbeat view.
- Eighty-one percent say the state of the economy is only fair or poor; 67 percent say it will stay the same or get worse in the coming year
- Seventy-seven percent of Millennials feel that it is very difficult to find a well-paying job, with 64 percent of employed respondents saying they feel underpaid for the work they do
- Seventy percent of Millennials agree that it was easier for their parents' generation to achieve the American Dream than for their own generation and 60 percent say their parents' generation also had better opportunities for career advancement
Despite these negative perceptions, most Millennials still feel that they will succeed in the long run, with 63 percent saying they will be more financially successful than their parents, 55 percent expecting their personal financial condition to be better one year from now than it is today and 79 percent expecting to be better off in 10 years.
About the Survey
This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Interactive on behalf of Think Finance from April 25 - May 7, 2013 among 1,021 Millennials (defined as ages 18-34). This online survey is not based on a probability sample, and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables, please contact ThinkFinance@icrinc.com.
About Think Finance
Think Finance develops online financial products that bridge the gap between payday loans and credit cards. Using our technology and analytics platform, Think Finance and the lenders we work with have provided over $3.5 billion in credit to 1.5 million consumers in the U.S. and abroad and have saved customers over $1 billion compared to payday loans. Think Finance is privately held and is backed by some of Silicon Valley's most respected venture capital firms including Sequoia Capital and Technology Crossover Ventures. The company was recently named No. 2 on Forbes' America's Most Promising Companies list. Learn more at www.ThinkFinance.com.
About Harris Interactive
Harris Interactive is one of the world's leading market research firms, leveraging research, technology, and business acumen to transform relevant insight into actionable foresight. Known widely for the Harris Poll® and for pioneering innovative research methodologies, Harris specializes in delivering research solutions that help us - and our clients - stay ahead of what's next. For more information, please visit www.harrisinteractive.com.
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