Millennials, payments and the age of convenience
Lately, I have been thinking about how much I love technology. For me, technology is the closest to magic (besides reading ‘Harry Potter’) that humankind can come to. Also, I was thinking about how much technology has changed the habits of people, especially my generation — the infamous Millennials or Gen Y. Whenever anybody refers to Gen Y, they refer to us as lazy, narcissistic, self-absorbed and whatnot. Thinking about all of the selfies and Snaps that my friends (and I) post daily, I must admit, we kind of are. But there is another set of characteristics that we own, that might be perceived as lazy, but actually have everything to do with convenience, comfort and being able and savvy to get what we need, fast.
We were raised in an abundance of information, with loads of distractions, promise of a better, all-inclusive world where we could have most things faster than before. Then we started working and engaging with the “real”, bureaucratic world and we realized that this is not the world that we imagined. This world is slower, with inefficient processes, with all of these rules that made sense once, back in the days (which for Gen Y is around 3–4 iPhones ago), when we didn’t have the necessary technology. Now, they just don’t make sense.
Take payments for example. Me and my friends — we rarely have cash. That is because we are prone to spending it fast, losing it, but most importantly, because it’s really inconvenient to go around searching for an ATM. OK, we might be a bit lazy, but I really don’t want to search for coins and change in my wallet, I don’t want to go in the opposite direction of my closest (and favorite) burger place to withdraw money, and most importantly, I don’t want to think about the payment process. I just want to swipe through and get my food. Call me lazy if you want, but in my eyes, it’s just faster, convenient and more efficient if that burger place has a card reader. I will pay twice as much as I would usually spend for lunch, they will not lose a customer and the only problem that might arise will be with my jeans. If this burger house has a card reader, ideally with their cashier system connected to it, they can take my order and my payment on the go.
Another big trait of my generation is how much we like to travel. And when you travel, having loads of cash with you is not the smartest thing. Story mode: End of last year, I went to Prague. We got to the metro station to go to our Airbnb apartment (another awesome example of how technology affects people’s habits), and we wanted to buy a metro ticket. The ticket machine only accepted coins, in the local Czech currency. Coins I say! So, the process of me obtaining a metro ticket was: go to the metro, wait in line for the machine, get disappointed, find an exchange shop and convert Euros to Korunas (alternatively, withdraw Korunas directly from an ATM for a huge fee), find a way to get coins, go to the information point, wait in line there, understand that the lady there exists to sell tickets to people like you that have no coins, explain to her in English what you need, get a reply in broken, non-existent English, gesticulate for a few minutes and get your ticket just in time to miss your train. You know what’s the process of me paying with a card? Wait in line (for less time) and pay that lady.
The point is, the generation that will generate most of the business in the world of tomorrow is my generation. We expect a fast and convenient service. We want to be able to pay for our food, cab, gym membership, vegan-gluten-free-strawberry-flavored-latte and that funky hat from that retro vintage bazaar even if we don’t have cash. Whoever is going to provide me with an easy, hassle-free way to get what I want, is the one that’s going to get my money. It’s not a matter of satisfying a target audience, it’s a matter of adapting to change and technology, or staying behind. It’s a matter of changing the concept of payment on a higher level.
So, what do all of these businesses have to do in order to be able to keep up with my generation? Seeing how they don’t know or care about payments (besides the fact that payment should be convenient, easy and affordable to them), they turn to their banks, those that do know most about payments. And they should be able to provide all of their clients, all of those big and small retailers and merchants with the possibility to cater to customer’s needs.
That’s only one of the reasons why I was so excited to join payworks a few weeks ago. payworks provides this technology to banks, so they can allow their merchants to keep up with the demands of people that require fast, convenient and efficient service and the people that will spend the most.
We do this by providing a top-notch payment gateway equipped with many tools for building the best Point of Sale solutions — a technology that didn’t exist 3–4 iPhones ago. For me, that is magic.