The payments industry is rapidly evolving, and young consumers are leading the way. 

Gen Zers and young Millennials are the first generations of digital natives. Millennials saw the evolution of smartphones and personal computers, while Gen Zers were raised with revolutionary tech at their fingertips. Now, as these young consumers saturate the market and represent a larger portion of the workforce, payment professionals will need to find new ways to capture their attention and keep them engaged during the checkout experience.

In a recent NMI Payment Playbook episode, podcast host Greg Myers sat down with NMI CPO Tiffany Johnson to talk about how young consumers are influencing the payments ecosystem and what payment providers can do to stay ahead.

Read a highlight of their conversation below, or tune in to the full podcast here.

How Young Consumers Impact Payments: A Conversation With NMI CPO Tiffany Johnson

Greg Myers: This is the first episode in our three-part series on how consumers influence the payments ecosystem. Today, we’ll discuss Gen Z and Millennials and their impact on payments and the shopping experience.

Our guest today is NMI Chief Product Officer Tiffany Johnson. Tiffany, can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your background?

Tiffany Johnson: Absolutely. I’ve been with NMI for over a year now, but I’ve been in payments for almost 18 years. My primary focus has been on embedded payments. During my career, I’ve had the pleasure of working with several industry titans like Apple, Uber, Intuit, Amazon, Formula One and several others — primarily on their embedded payment strategy.

At NMI, we’re on a mission to deliver a full-service payments acceptance platform for our partners. As CPO, I have the pleasure of wearing a lot of different hats. Our CEO, Vijay Sondhi, calls me the “air traffic controller” because I’m involved in so many aspects of the business. I have a hand in nearly everything that brings our product to life for our customers, from market insights and customer engagement to technical solutioning, organizational alignment, execution, etc.

Myers: Let’s go ahead and dive into the topic at hand. How would you define Gen Zers and Millennials?

Johnson: It’s interesting, when you look up the definitions, the years that define these generations are different depending on the source you look at.  

Generally speaking, Millennials are defined as those born between 1981 and 1996. They’ve seen the evolution of the internet, personal computers and smartphones firsthand, which gives them a unique approach to digital and non-digital payment methods. They value experiences, sustainability and digital connectivity, which really come to life in their payment preferences.

Then, you have Gen Zers, who were born between 1997 and 2012. They’re the first generation of true digital natives. 2 of my three kids fall into this Gen Z category. This group prioritizes things like speed, convenience and seamless digital experiences in their payment preferences. 

Developing Solutions for Young Consumers

Myers: According to research from Afterpay, Gen Z’s global share of retail spend is set to triple by 2030, which isn’t far away. What would your advice be to ISOs, software platforms, PayFacs, and other providers as they develop payment solutions and experiences for this generation?

Johnson: My top two recommendations are to embrace new technologies and focus on the user experience.

From a new tech perspective, payment professionals need to be aware of and adopt more advanced payment technologies, whether that’s contactless, biometrics or even cryptocurrency payments. At NMI, we did a study that found that 83% of consumers ages 18 to 24 and 87% of consumers ages 25 to 40 agree or strongly agree that they’re excited to try new payment technologies or capabilities. So, as a payment professional, it’s important to have those new technologies available.

That said, it’s costly to integrate with new tech and keep up with evolving trends.  That’s why it’s crucial to have partners who make it their job to stay up-to-date with new opportunities so payment professionals can offer leading-edge tech to their customers.

From a user experience perspective, the best payment is one that never happened. It’s like the Uber scenario where, when you get out of the Uber, you don’t have to fumble for your card or find cash. You just book your ride, then leave the vehicle when you arrive. You might push a button to send your tip, but that’s pretty much it.

That seamless user experience is becoming more mainstream because it minimizes friction and plays into the value of speed, which is important for Gen Zers.

Myers: If you don’t mind, can you briefly summarize the key takeaways for NMI listeners?

Johnson: Of course. It’s so easy in this industry to get sucked into cool technologies and be really solution-driven. But it’s important to be mindful and bring everything back to where it counts: what consumers expect and how those expectations are evolving. 

Solving problems in ways that resonate and meet customers where they are will be key to the next chapter of this payments evolution. Embedded payments are essential. The best payment is the one you didn’t know happened, so prioritize that experience and remember that security and trust are key.

Tune in to the full episode here.

Don’t just turn on payments, transform the way you do business

  • Generate New Revenue By adding or expanding payment offerings to your solution, you can start earning higher monthly and transaction-based recurring revenue.
  • Offer the Power of Choice Allow merchants to choose from 125+ shopping cart integrations and 200+ processor options to streamline their onboarding.
  • Seamless White Labeling Make the platform an extension of your brand by adding your logo, colors and customizing your URL.

Talk to Our Team

Invalid number

By submitting your information, you agree to NMI's Privacy Policy & Terms and Conditions

237,000+ Connected devices
300+ EMV device certifications
$200B+ Payments volume
2.3B+ Transactions