Gen Z Is Only 4% of Credit Union Members, and That’s a Problem

Credit unions have an opportunity to appeal to millennial and Gen Z consumers with innovative, digital services to improve their financial health and literacy.

Credit unions have an opportunity to appeal to millennial and Gen Z consumers with innovative, digital services to improve their financial health and literacy.

Young consumers are feeling the pinch. According to recent PYMNTS data, 73% of millennials live paycheck to paycheck — the highest rate among all generations, with Generation Z close behind at 66%. Beset by a bleak economic picture, consumers are looking to their financial institutions (FIs) for support, with one survey finding that 59% of retail bank customers expect their FIs to help improve their financial health.29%: Share of Gen Z consumers who do not know their credit scores or lack them altogether

To help young members navigate these challenging times, CUs must understand their unique needs and expectations. Younger consumers face struggles beyond current macroeconomic conditions. Primarily, this demographic often lacks essential financial education. Gen Z exhibits the lowest levels of credit education, according to FICO, with 29% of individuals in this age group unaware of or even lacking a credit score.

The “Credit Union Tracker®” explores how younger consumers could use some support — and why CUs are in a great position to help.

Around the Credit Union Space

The University of Hawaii Federal Credit Union (UHFCU) collaborated with Zogo, an app that gamifies financial literacy, to cater to younger demographics. UHFCU pays a licensing fee to offer a co-branded Zogo app exclusively for its members. The move comes after the CU realized during the pandemic that it was struggling to meet the needs of its younger members.79%: Portion of Gen Z and millennial consumers who have turned to social media for financial advice

PSCU recently released its credit card-based BNPL solution for CUs. The solution allows CUs to offer members the ability to convert post-purchase credit card transactions into installment payments. This solution is very popular among younger generations, with millennials most likely to use BNPL products.

For more on these and other stories, visit the Tracker’s News and Trends section.

An Industry Insider on the Importance of Competing for Digital Natives

As so few millennial and Gen Z consumers are credit union members, CUs must increase their efforts to attract and retain these generations.

To get the Insider POV, we spoke with Scott Young, managing vice president of emerging services at PSCU, about the importance of doing more to connect with younger, digital-first members — and providing more personalized, digital services.

Technology Is Key to Meeting Younger Generations’ Expectations4%: Share of Generation Z consumers who are credit union members

CUs have been largely successful in innovating to meet the needs of their members, leading to high satisfaction rates. In a rapidly changing financial landscape, however, CUs must continue to innovate to meet member demands for the latest digital solutions — especially younger demographics, as just 5% of millennials and 4% of Gen Z are CU members. Largely digital natives, these generations expect seamless digital experiences.

To learn how CUs are working to cater to young members’ needs, read the Tracker’s PYMNTS Intelligence.

About the Tracker

The “Credit Union Tracker®,” a collaboration with PSCU, examines the importance of credit unions understanding younger generations’ unique financial needs and working to address them now.