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How Merchants Can Prepare for the Millennial Generation

The millennial generation (those born between 1981 and 2005) is growing up. Millennials’ buying practices and payment practices should be of great concern to businesses, banks, and merchant account providers.

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As of last year, millennials now make up the largest portion of the workforce over any other generation. Millennials do many things differently than previous generations and that includes shopping. There’s much merchants can do to prepare and embrace the influx of millennial spending.

Adopt New Payment Methods

Millennials are the generation most likely to try new payment methods like Apple Pay and other mobile payment methods because they’re simple and easy to use. According to Accenture survey, 23 percent of millennials use contactless payment methods at least once a week.

Merchants need to be aware of these changing trends and ensure they’re able to accept these types of payments so they don’t lose out on customers or fail to stay competitive. Staying up to date on the latest payment trends is vital for business success.

Continue Processing Cash

For all that millennials have embraced new technology and new ways to pay for goods and services, millennials still surprisingly like to pay with cash. In fact, 80 percent of millennials have said they pay for things with cash, and 64 percent say they carry cash with them most of the time. This is great news for merchants because it means their processes that are in place for accepting cash payments are still relevant and applicable to businesses today. That part of payment processing doesn’t have to change.

Continue Processing Cheques

Cheques are considered an outdated payment method, but it’s important that you change your way of thinking about them because they’re not outdated at all. In fact, 42 percent of millennials write cheques, and while that’s less than half, it’s still a significant portion. Therefore, it’s important that merchants still ensure they’re able to process cheques for their clients.

Process Online Payments

Online shopping is a method of purchasing that the millennial generation has embraced, with 67 percent of millennials preferring to shop online rather than in store. It’s important to note that millennials prefer online shopping for certain products and in-store shopping for others. The majority of millennials prefer in-store shopping for clothing, groceries, cars, and jewelry. It’s important to them that they can see the product and know what they’re buying. However, millennials will shop online for electronics and many other products, often due to a lower price.

If you have an online store or are an exclusive online retailer it’s imperative that you’re able to process the different methods of payment that are available to millennials. If you’re unable to, they’ll have no hesitation purchasing the product (or something similar) from your competitor.

There’s much about the millennial generation that’s the same as previous generations when it comes to how goods and services are purchased. Cash is still a payment source that many prefer to use. However, it’s important that merchants are able to process payments through the various new mobile and online payment options that are available so they can stay competitive.


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Ben Smith

Ben brings 20 years of experience to his role as IT Director for BNA Smart Payment Systems. Among his many directorial duties, he is responsible for the selection, acquisition, development, installation, maintenance, and support of IT infrastructure. Ben also establishes and leads a cross-functional architectural committee, acts as a technical expert and a critical technical resource across multiple disciplines, and consults on all system implementation, modification and integration activities. He graduated with Honours from Durham Collage in Computer Programming, and takes yearly training courses for security and development technologies to remain up-to-date. Outside of work, he loves playing hockey and skating with his family, and also enjoys gardening and cooking.

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