All posts by Katerin Gomez

Marketing Associate Katerin has a passion for market research and content development in the tech space. She has worked at a major residential mortgage lender, and completed an internship in customer experience at a technology company. As a Zoomer, she is eager to learn more about the FinTech industry and how it moves the banking industry forward. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communications and Spanish from Caldwell University and recently graduated from Rutgers University with a M.A in Communication.

Banking on Gen Z

Generation Z, born between 1997–2012, is the generation after Millennials. In
ten years, this generation will be a sizable part of a successful financial institution’s
consumer base. Many Zoomers are in college and new to banking, so now is the time
to start reaching out to them.

In a Banking Exchange hosted webinar, Paul Letgutko, Senior Principal at Aite-Novarica, Katerin Gomez, Marketing Associate at Alacriti
(and also a Zoomer), and Kristen Jason, Senior Product Marketing Manager at Alacriti
discussed how traditional FIs can stand out from challenger banks
with Gen Z.

Submit the form to access the webinar recap.

Payments in 2022: What You Need to Know

Financial institutions have had a lot to grapple with—from consumer payment habit changes to addressing the issues they had pre-pandemic, and not least the need to modernize their payment solutions to support new payment methods and rails.

Two themes, in particular, are being discussed at every bank—cloud and real-time payments. In a recent webinar, speakers from Celent and Alacriti discussed how banks should approach this opportunity to be at the forefront of change.

Submit the form to access the webinar recap.

Zoomers on Campus: Where I Choose to Bank

*Originally published on CUInsight.com

With many Zoomers in college and new to the banking industry, there is much to learn about what financial institutions can do to improve their banking experience. Financial institutions can attract more Zoomers by highlighting and discussing what they value in terms of personalized experiences, customer service, and rewards. This is critical, as Zoomers are an imminent major target audience for financial services.  Here, we provide insight into why Zoomers bank where they do, according to data and anecdotes from Zoomers themselves.

Personalized Experience

Mobile banking, better rates, and personal relationships are common factors that Zoomers are looking for when it comes to banking. 64% of Zoomers are looking for a more personalized banking experience with product and service recommendations relevant to their unique situation. Especially as new college students, it’s often the first time they are taking control of their budget. “I just opened my account earlier, and I chose my bank because I like their customer service. I have a lot of questions, so I would rather talk to someone so they can help me,” says Kayla, a freshman at the University of New Haven. 

For Zoomers, customer service is essential. Whether it be from digital chat options or over the phone, they want to be assisted fast and feel cared for. “I would switch to another bank if they offered great customer service. That to me means 24/7 representatives available that greet you, informative videos about banking or how to use mobile banking or FAQs is very helpful,” stated Lizette, a junior at Caldwell University. A study conducted by PYMNTS.com and SundaySky found that 72% of consumers would be very likely to switch to FIs that provide video content on its products. Personalized videos work because they drive engagement. This includes a higher click-through rate and interaction rate, which leads to a higher sales conversion rate.

Partnerships, Incentives, and More

Many financial institutions partner with colleges to gain competitive advantages, such as having only one bank or credit union on campus and strategizing where to place ATMs and signage in high-traffic areas. They can even set stands on campus to hold giveaways and promotions. Although it doesn’t guarantee that the student will sign-up with the bank or credit union on campus, financial institutions need to get creative with incentives and rewards programs tied to achieving Zoomers’ financial goals. A lot of college students are looking into what financial institutions have to offer to them. 

Nicole, a senior from Western Connecticut State University says, “I look for banks that offer me low-interest rates and cashback programs for getting good grades; every little bit helps during school.” A great example of financial institutions offering incentives for mobile digital wallets is the free Kasasa Cash Back Checking rewards program offered through Philadelphia Federal Credit Union. When asked about banks and credit unions on campus and if she uses them, Hardi, a student at Temple University, stated, “Yes, I do use them on campus. They are very accessible and are located in almost all the buildings here.” At Temple University’s Philadelphia Federal Credit Union, for example, not only do they offer up to $10 in monthly refunds for nationwide ATM fees, but they also offer a $15 sign-up bonus. Additionally, for every monthly purchase, they give up to $10 in refunds for iTunes, Amazon, or Google Play. These money-saving incentives are very appealing. From rewards programs on debit card purchases to surcharge-free ATM networks, these incentives and programs can make financial institutions very attractive.

Improvements

As we all know, when financial institutions make their way into high schools and colleges, they bring educational materials, rewards, and paper forms. Given that Zoomers place a high value on environmental concerns, with 67% believing that climate change should be a major priority, go paperless whenever possible, e.g., QR codes. Not only will going paperless show your alignment with Zoomer environmental considerations but there will be less friction in the sign-up process. Consider this: not many students want to waste time filling out a paper form when they can scan a QR code instead. Consumers utilize QR codes on their cellphones in about 25% of cases, but that is the whole population. What about the Zoomers on campus? It’s crucial to understand how the educational system is assisting Zoomers on campus. Many colleges have effectively implemented QR codes in their classrooms or college campus events. It’s less traditional and more focused on technology. AI applications not only deliver the same knowledge in a more efficient manner, but they also improve student engagement

Not surprisingly, social media is where Zoomers obtain a lot of information, and that also includes financial habits. Financial institutions should make sure that they are posting content that is relevant to Zoomers on the platforms they are engaging with— e.g., Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, and Facebook. YouTube and Instagram are ranked the most used social media platforms by Zoomers. Approximately 89% of them visit or use YouTube. 

Financial institutions can take advantage of this opportunity to teach Zoomers about their finances, as over 80% of Zoomers are concerned about their finances, and about 72% of Zoomers interviewed in a Pew Social Media study say they use at least 11 of the social networks included in the study (Instagram, TikTok, Snapchat). “I do think social media can bring more awareness about financial habits, but we have to be careful of what information we can trust. I have seen some ads or posts on social media that gave the wrong information about banking,” says Hardi, a Student at Temple University. That said, many of these advertisements and information are not directly from financial institutions. Many Zoomers would benefit immensely from learning information directly from a financial institution’s social media. That is why it is crucial to have a strong and relevant social media presence.

To summarize, when it comes to luring Zoomers to campus, having personalized experiences, incentives, similar ideals, and a social presence are incredibly crucial. With practically everything being done on social media today, it’s critical to recognize that it’s one of the primary resources for  Zoomers. More digital options, such as QR codes or allowing payments from more modern channels like Amazon Alexa, have the potential to completely shift the game and improve their banking experiences. For many Zoomers, having a positive impact on society is extremely important, as is having a sense of ownership. Knowing a handful about the Zoomer generation can aid financial organizations in making numerous improvements to their customer or member experience and convenience.

Read more about Zoomers in Zoomer Generation’s Core Qualities and Values


Today’s legacy and siloed banking technology infrastructure limit financial institutions’ ability to rapidly innovate. It’s time to look at money movement in a new way. Alacriti’s Orbipay Unified Money Movement Services does just that. Whether it’s real-time payments, digital disbursements, or bill pay, our cloud-based platform enables banks and credit unions to quickly and seamlessly deliver modern digital payments and money movement experiences. To speak to an Alacriti payments expert, please call us at (908) 791-2916 or email info@alacriti.com

Zoomer Financial Habits: Loans

Ever wondered how many Zoomers are confused about their finances? With many newly entering the financial sector, about 28% deemed their generation “fiscally irresponsible.” Zoomers who are unsure how to handle their finances have started entering into the real world. Some are pondering student loans, while some are thinking of investing in the stock market. And some are even exploring home loans and much more. What exactly are these areas of interest for the older members of the Zoomer generation, and what are the statistics behind them? We explore this topic and the inputs of actual Zoomers here.

Student Loans

The average Zoomer holds $17,338 in student loans. To provide some context, the average tuition, fees, and room and board for the 2020-21 academic year increased by 1% to $22,180 for in-state students at four-year public colleges, according to the College Board. The same expenses at four-year private institutions rose by nearly 2% to an average of $50,770. The rise of college tuition, amongst other factors, means more students are looking to take out more loans. “My experience was okay. I had to take a loan when I was in college, so I didn’t mind it, but I didn’t like that they had all these interest charges,” said Kevin, recent Zoomer graduate and Software Development Engineer at Amazon.

If college students decide to continue their education at graduate school, their tuition will only increase, resulting in a likely need to get a higher loan amount. Neary 25% of student loan borrowers went to graduate school, and these students hold about half of all outstanding student debt. The average amount of student debt for an MBA student is $66,300, $71,000 for a master’s degree, $145,500 for a law degree, and $201,490 for a medical degree. Jamie, a graduate student at Montclair State University, said, “I needed to take out more loans for my master’s degree because I can’t afford to pay out of pocket for school by myself or even with the help of my parents; it’s too much.” 

Vehicle Ownership

With a large number of Zoomers in high school and beyond, many are considering automobile ownership. Zoomers who did not have taking out loans (e.g., vehicle ownership) on their list of priorities previously now have surpassed millennials when it comes to doing just that. For auto dealers and lenders to approach Zoomers, they will need to come up with a more tech-savvy approach. With only 36% of Zoomers having auto loans just a few years ago, they don’t want to end up in the same debt as their elders. Financial institutions need to focus on the goal of becoming debt-free when approaching Zoomers. Educating them and providing lessons will help a great deal since many do not intend to be in debt. However, they are just never taught how to prevent it.

Investing in Stocks 

80% of Gen-Z investors surveyed by LendingTree’s Magnify Money said they took out a loan to invest in stocks compared to 28% of Gen Xers and 9% of Baby Boomers. They are most likely to take out a personal loan, usually borrowing 5,000 or more. Zoomers are also educating each other on the importance of investing their money. 57% said they wanted to learn more about investing. Many use social media to get their financial investment advice from apps such as TikTok. The hashtag “#investing” on TikTok garners over 2.8 billion views. Many of these videos  center around investing tips in stocks. The downside is that all of these sources are not necessarily reliable or accurate. “I’ve seen a lot of finance tips on TikTok, but not all of them are trustworthy because anyone could have posted it, so I think tips coming from banks [or credit unions] can be more reliable,” stated Stacy, a recent graduate from Montclair State University. 

Investing in their future

When it comes to their biggest life purchases, such as buying a home, Zoomers want to hear from their banks and credit unions. The longer in duration and more personally meaningful the loan is, the higher levels of interaction, transparency, and access desired. Inadequate communication and effort throughout the loan application process can be perceived as a lack of interest from the bank or credit union.

Zoomers hold a 2% share of the housing market. It is important to note that within the next few years, this percentage will most likely increase. Building a better score is crucial for them, and with many financial institutions already offering free credit card reports, they should make sure Zoomers are aware as well. The main question now is how well these financial institutions are reaching out to the next generation of consumers, Zoomers. “Transparency is what we need. I didn’t know about the APR, so getting more context on how these loans are going to charge you will be helpful. The process of getting a loan was very simple, but the process of understanding how loans are given to you was a whole different story,” says Kevin.

From student loans to house loans, big expenses are coming up for the Zoomer generation. With many already taking advantage of low-interest rates and focusing on buying homes where the economy is growing, we can tell Zoomers also value rapid growth. With 64% of Zoomer’s getting financial information from YouTube, financial institutions must have a stronger social media and online presence. In order to step up their game and prepare for Zoomers, financial institutions must compare their basic principles to those of the Zoomers. After doing this, only then can they attract their upcoming customers and members. For Zoomers to be more confident about their finances, they need education from the direct source—their financial institutions.

Read more about Zoomers in Zoomer Generation’s Core Qualities and Values


Today’s legacy and siloed banking technology infrastructure limit financial institutions’ ability to rapidly innovate. It’s time to look at money movement in a new way. Alacriti’s Orbipay Unified Money Movement Services does just that. Whether it’s real-time payments, digital disbursements, or bill pay, our cloud-based platform enables banks and credit unions to quickly and seamlessly deliver modern digital payments and money movement experiences. To speak to an Alacriti payments expert, please call us at (908) 791-2916 or email info@alacriti.com.

Zoomer Financial Habits: Bill Pay

*Originally published on CUInsight.com

There are various generational differences when it comes to financial habits. Let’s begin by talking about bill pay. What is it, and how does it work? If you are familiar with the payments industry, you know electronic bill pay is growing extremely fast. Its fast growth can be compared to Zoomers, whose financial impact is also on the rise. Financial institutions recognize that their future customers or members are Zoomers. They value speed and efficiency, and the most modern payment experience is extremely attractive to Zoomers since some are already paying their phone bills and about 42%, their tuition. Here, find out some critical facts about Zoomers and bill pay from data and Zoomers surveyed for this blog.  

It’s Faster and Convenient

Since Zoomers have grown up surrounded by technology, mobile payments through their smartphones are a given. They demand newer ways to pay and expect transactions to happen at a faster pace. They want a more seamless experience when it comes to billing and payment services. Therefore, they prefer to pay bills by linking their debit cards, cutting down on paper billing statements, and choosing a digital payment. For Zoomers, it also means reduced paper waste, which they value so highly that they are willing to pay more for ecologically friendly services. As the next generation of workers, “generation green,” roughly 73% of Zoomers are willing to pay up to a 10% price premium for a more sustainable option. So, if financial institutions wish to attract a larger Zoomer audience, this is a critical factor to consider.

However, let’s not confuse a Zoomer’s interest in digital payments with wanting to bank completely online. Maha, student, and CEO of Maha Cosmetics shared, “With a robot representative, it can get tedious because they might not be able to solve your issues. I would prefer [a human representative] so I don’t have to drive and be face to face with someone. It’s more convenient to do it quickly over a chat box.” Financial institutions, while stepping up their game when it comes to automated payments and other advancements, should keep in mind that although the Zoomer generation is very digital, we still expect some sort of human interaction. “It adds a more personal touch, especially when I’m having an issue on my phone with my payments. I would rather talk to someone to get help,” Cristian, a recent graduate and project administrator at ITG Larson, shared. 

Credit Scores Are Definitely Important

With many Zoomers currently in college or fresh out of college, many may be in hopes of building up their credit scores. Connecting with financial institutions to obtain a credit card can help them build their score if they pay close attention to their payment history. Maintaining excellent credit habits and a good credit score requires making sure all payments are made on time. This brings up the topic of automated bill payments. They can be easy to process and are used by many Zoomers. But what else could be just as important to having a solid credit score when it comes to automatic payments? Convenience. It’s what Zoomers look for when it comes to the services they prefer. Kevin, a recent Zoomer graduate and Software Development Engineer at Amazon, stated he has automated payments set up which are linked directly to his bank account. So essentially, he only “[looks] at the statements afterward to make sure the transactions made sense.”

Experian’s 11th annual State of Credit report found that Gen Z has lowered its credit utilization rate and decreased its number of missed payments. The data shows that Zoomers have missed fewer payments than other generations. It serves as evidence as to how much Zoomers care about building their credit—which means making on-time payments. They are being better educated on credit and can benefit from various tools and sources that provide free credit scores and that show the potential of paying off debt or opening a new credit line. 

Zoomers are starting to have long-term goals when it comes to building credit. They don’t want to make the same mistakes their predecessors made when it came to debt. One out of every two Zoomers say in the next ten years, owning a home will be their challenge but it’s something that they plan on working on. “I always make sure I schedule my bills ahead of time because I’m scared to see my credit score drop, especially now that I’m working towards purchasing a home in the next couple of years,” Lashawna, a recent graduate and Marketing Coordinator at a mortgage company stated. Zoomers are looking ahead and plan on making careful decisions when it comes to paying off their bills. 

It Goes Both Ways

Although not every Zoomer is savvy when it comes to credit or bill payments, a lot of them want to learn more about their finances. “I don’t know where to begin when it comes to banking, so any help or tips would be great,” says college student Kayla from the University of New Haven. For financial institutions to go to schools and colleges and meet Zoomers where they are could serve a tremendous benefit, especially those who are newly entering higher education. Resources should be customized so that they resonate with Zoomers more. That said, offering value-based programs to attract upcoming college students can be highly effective. When coming up with a strategy, keep in mind that becoming educated about the preferences of Zoomers is just as key as effectively teaching them about building credit scores and other important financial decisions. 

Read more about Zoomers in Zoomer Generation’s Core Qualities and Values


Today’s legacy and siloed banking technology infrastructure limit financial institutions’ ability to rapidly innovate. It’s time to look at money movement in a new way. Alacriti’s Orbipay Unified Money Movement Services does just that. Whether it’s real-time payments, digital disbursements, or bill pay, our cloud-based platform enables banks and credit unions to quickly and seamlessly deliver modern digital payments and money movement experiences. To speak to an Alacriti payments expert, please call us at (908) 791-2916 or email info@alacriti.com.