Much thought is given to millennials and even Generation Z — consumers who were born during fixed periods of time, and who are having an increasing impact on payments and commerce. But let’s not forget the role of the teenager in digital retail, financial services and transactions. There will always be teenagers, after all, and they have significant power and influence, along with a native mastery of mobile and other associated technologies.
The latest evidence of that comes from Europe. According to a report on Tuesday (May 28), a France-based “digital banking startup aimed at teenagers” called Pixpay has raised nearly $3.5. million in fresh capital. “Founded by group of parents just months ago, Pixpay will offer children between the ages of 10 and 18 a mobile bank account, contactless payment card and the option to use Apple Pay and Google Pay,” the report said. The banking service for teens reportedly will launch later this year in time for the new school term in France, and the service will cost users about $33 monthly.
According to the report, the Pixpay app “will help with spending and saving management, providing real-time purchase notifications and analysis of where money goes, along with offers on popular brands.” Not only that, but “parents will be able to set spending limits, block purchases from some providers, and offer financial incentives for carrying out tasks such as household chores.”
This is not the first banking account designed for teenagers. Last year, U.K.- based Starling Bank, a mobile-only bank, rolled out current accounts for 16- and 17-year-olds. Starling Bank said the accounts will have the same functionality of a full current account, enabling young people to manage money and access payment options including Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, Google Pay, Fitbit Pay and Garmin Pay. The bank noted that the teenaged account holders will not be able to get loans or access overdraft lines of credit.
According to Starling Bank, the account was created to meet the demand from younger people who want a full bank account. Customers don’t need their parents to apply and don’t need to go into a branch to open an account. They will be able to apply to open bank accounts in under five minutes from a smartphone.
Among the challenges of the digital age is enabling teenagers to take part in eCommerce and digital payment and financial services without raising the ire of parents or creating situations that make it easy for some of these teenager to commit fraud. That challenge has impacted even the biggest players in eCommerce.
Retail and Teenagers
For instance, Amazon previously launched an easy way for teens aged 13 to 17 to shop on the eCommerce website with their own, parent-controlled login information. That program was designed so that teens could use the Amazon App to shop or stream content and, at the same time, keep parents abreast of what they are doing. Parents have the ability to approve orders and set pre-approved spending limits for each order. Amazon previously said the offering provides a way for teenagers to use its features with a level of independence and autonomy. The limits can change as teens age and mature.
Even before that, Seqr launched Seqr Go!, a prepaid mobile payment app designed for teenagers, available via the Google Play store. The first-of-its-kind app is a safe and secure alternative for teens to make purchases and send money to one another, the company said. The app is also designed to teach the younger generation about money management and financial responsibility.
Other groups of consumers tend to get more attention these days than do teenagers — just look at all the anticipation around Generation Z. That group of consumers, born between 1997 and 2016, is 86 million strong and influences $600 billion of spending by families. But no matter what, there are always teenagers, and there will always be reasons for merchants and financial services providers to try to appeal to that group.