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How mobile technology trends in banking vary across generations.

April 21, 2022 By: Kristina Leach

Since the pandemic struck in March 2020, mobile adoption in retail banking has skyrocketed. What does this mean for mobile technology trends in banking?

Today, 80% of Americans think they can manage their finances without visiting branches in-person. 

In the United States alone, there are over 169.3 million mobile banking users. A staggering 76% have used a bank’s mobile app in the past year. In 2021 alone, total finance app downloads reached 573.1 million, up 19% from 2020. 

Now that we know that mobile banking isn’t going away, it’s important to understand what those numbers actually mean. In this blog post, we will take a look at mobile banking trends across generations.

Mobile technology trends broken down by generations. 

According to a May 2021 study from Cornerstone Advisors, “mobile banking penetration has grown to 95% of Gen Zers, 91% of millennials, 85% of gen Xers, 60% of baby Boomers, and 27% of Seniors.” Market Insider reported similar statistics. 

For Gen Zers and millennials, using mobile banking apps has become almost as universal as using social media apps. 

How mobile banking varies across age groups.

In general, banking customers use mobile bank apps to transfer money, pay bills, and deposit checks. But the mobile technology trends in banking vary across each generation.

Some actions are almost universal across each age group. For instance, almost every mobile bank user from Gen Z through seniors use mobile banking apps to check their balance. 

When it comes to other actions, however, such as sending money to other individuals or using Apple Pay, the numbers vary widely from generation to generation. 

A study from Cornerstone Advisors broke down how different generations leverage common features on mobile banking apps. Here’s a look at how Gen Z, Millennials, Gen X, baby boomers, and seniors use certain mobile banking features. 

a graph depicting mobile technology trends in banking across each generation by Quantum Metric

Some mobile trends remained relatively consistent across each generation. 

For many common mobile banking tasks–such as transferring money, paying bills, sending money to another individual, and viewing statements–the gap between the older generations isn’t as significant as one might have thought 

For instance, 60% of Gen Z, millennials and Gen X transfer money using mobile apps, whereas approximately half of boomers and seniors use mobile apps to transfer money.

More than half of Gen X, millennials, baby boomers, and seniors have used mobile apps to pay bills, with millennials leading the pack at 62%. For Gen Z, the number came in slightly lower, at  48%.

When it comes to viewing statements, millennials were the least likely to view bank statements, at just 42%. The number was highest for baby boomers, at 54%.

Gen Z was the group least likely to cash a check, at 37%, followed by seniors at 39%. More than 4 in 10 millennials, Gen X, and baby boomers reported depositing checks, with baby boomers leading the pack at 46%. 

Other mobile trends varied more widely. 

Almost half of Gen Z and millennials have sent money using their mobile banking apps, whereas only 31% of Gen X reported doing so. For baby boomers and seniors, the numbers were even lower, at 23% and 22% respectively.

It’s not surprising that Google Pay and Apple Pay are more popular among Gen Z and millennials. 30% of each group reported using one or both of the services. For Gen Z and baby boomers, the numbers were significantly lower, at 19% and 10% respectively. Seniors were the least likely to pay for a product using Google or Apple Pay; only 7% reported doing so.

Mobile technology trends in banking by generation.

Given that each generation uses mobile apps differently, it makes sense that they also have their preferred finance apps. 

Gen Z.

According to a 2021 study from the financial brand, Gen Z was more likely to use money transfer apps, cryptocurrency trading platforms, and neobanks. Some of the most popular apps among Gen Z included Venmo, Cash App, Acorns Invest, Greenlight, and Truebill,


For Millenials, crypto and neobank apps were the most popular. Millennials most often downloaded apps like Ally, Progressive, Credit One Bank, Barclayard, IRS2Go, Chime, and Crypto.com

Gen X, baby boomers, and seniors.

Gen X and baby boomers, on the other hand, tended to use apps from more traditional players, including CNBC, TD Ameritrade, Yahoo Finance, Allstate, Fidelity Investments, and Schwab. 

In general, younger consumers preferred platforms that allowed them to move money quickly. Whereas older consumers spent more time on apps that emphasized long-term saving and wealth management. 

What does this mean for developing mobile apps? 

With each generation of users approaching mobile banking apps differently, what does that mean for user expectations? 

Digital teams at banks need to be continuously iterating on mobile apps, as well as leveraging behavioral data to identify and anticipate customer needs. By making data-backed product decisions, teams can prioritize improvements based on gaps and opportunities that will generate value for their customers. 

In the coming years, even more Gen Z’ers will be using mobile banking apps, which means rising expectations. Banks need to start thinking of their mobile apps as lifestyle apps that offer nearly flawless user experiences.  

As banks chart a path forward, they should keep in mind that tomorrow’s customers want the following features:

  • Real-time and recurring money transfers and bill payments
  • Visuals that show their spending habits
  • Security cues and productive friction such as 2-step authentication
  • 24/7 access
  • Support for cryptocurrency 
  • Easier connectivity to other banking apps
  • Chatbots and virtual assistants that offer bill reminds, spending summaries, subscription info
  • Rewards programs like Chase Offers
  • Holistic view of personal finance
  • Biometric authentication such as facial and voice recognition 
  • Advanced fraud prevention technology 

Why retail banks are choosing Quantum Metric.

Building your mobile banking app is one thing. Improving it is another challenge. 

With Quantum Metric, retail banks like U.S. Bank and other financial institutions have gained unparalleled visibility into how to improve the mobile customer experience. 

Quantum Metric enables digital leaders at retail banks to: 

  • Capture signals such as taps, pinches, and scrolls
  • Detect anomalies that cause rage taps, app crashes, and long-running spinners
  • Observe the actual customer experience with session replay
  • Quantify how much one error is impacting customers across the board
  • Set real-time alerts when anomalies occur across technical, behavioral, and business metrics

By combining quantitative and qualitative analytics, Quantum Metric makes it possible to identify hard-to-find user experience errors, which go undetected by more traditional analytics tools, like Google Analytics. Our platform has helped digital teams surface UX errors related to mobile check deposits, identify confusing product messaging, and make the login experience more intuitive. 

Quantum Metric provides teams with insights across channels, including web and native apps. This means your digital team can develop a deeper understanding of the digital banking omnichannel experience. 

Most importantly, the Quantum Metric platform ensures that retail banks remain compliant with the industry’s most rigorous data privacy standards, including GDPR and CCPA. The platform encrypts sensitive material, such as usernames and social security numbers. All encryption occurs at the device level. 

If you’re interested in learning more about Quantum Metric, download our free eBook today. 

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