Stock investing for dummies – Millennials and Banking: What Really Matters

Stock investing for dummies

stock-investing-for-dummies Millennials, made up of those born between 1978 and 2000, are the largest generation in American history. By the year 2025 it’s forecasted that millennials will bring in a whopping 46% of all income.

While millennials are often referred to as “generation me” and stereotyped as entitled and lazy, this is actually far from the truth. Millennials are tech savvy, financially aware and a slightly bit skeptical.

And since in less than ten years millennials will be controlling almost half of the income in America, big industries are trying to widen their appeal to this generation. One industry that should be concerned is the banking sector.

Here’s a look at what millennials are looking for in financial intuitions and what they don’t like.

What Do Millennials Look for in Banks?

As it turns out, millennials aren’t too fond of banks. According to The Millennial Disruption Index, a three year study involving over 10,000 millennials, 71% of those interviewed would rather go to the dentist than listen to what banks are saying.

What’s worse, for banks anyway, is that 1 in 3 millennials would be willing to switch banks in the next 90 days.

So what exactly are millennials looking for in a bank? Here are just a few of the most coveted features.

Technology Matters

Millennials are the first generation to grow up with abundant access to technology and have witnessed firsthand how quickly technology can change. That’s probably why nearly 70% of millennials think that the way we access money and pay for things will be completely different in five years.

In order for banks to keep a strong millennial customer base they’re going to need to keep up with technology.

Things like mobile banking, the ability to scan checks and even budgeting tools are all important. If you don’t have mobile banking, you can’t have me as a customer.

So Do Free Accounts

One major issue between millennials and banks is trust. Millennials value transparency and want accounts that contain no hidden fees.

According to a 2015 Bankrate Survey only 37% of banks are offering completely free checking. Things like being charged for a low balance, not having direct deposit setup, high out-of-network ATM fees and overdraft fees were all among the ways banking customers were being charged.

This is just crazy! It’s one of the main reasons that I use USAA as my primary bank. Free – it has to be free!

Credit Unions: A Good Option for Millennials?

Credit Unions are soaring in popularity. Last year was a record setting number for credit unions with over 3.7 million members joining, according to the Credit Union National Association.

While credit unions may have been discounted in the past they have great features to offer, like:

Competitive Loan Options

Millennials know how to find a good deal. They know which tools to use and where to look before making large purchases. And credit unions are known for giving their members better interest rates than traditional banks.

Superior Customer Service

A large percentage of millennials feels that their banks are doing an inadequate job. When millennials need help they want someone they can talk to and trust. This is where banks miss the mark and credit unions pick up the slack.

Overall credit unions have more educational resources for their members as well as better customer service.

Technological Advances

Credit Unions are aware of the fact that almost three-quarters of millennials value mobile banking. Because of this you’ll now see many credit unions with technology as good as their larger banking counterparts. What many people don’t realize is that organizations like the Co-Op Network (you’ve probably seen the logo on ATM machines) provide these tools to credit unions in their network. If the credit union is part of this network, chances are they have the tools.

Banks and Credit Unions that Meet the Millennial Mark


If you’re a millennial and have been looking for a bank or credit union with great technological features and good customer service here are the companies that make our list:

Alliant Credit Union

While there are certain requirements to join credit unions Alliant makes it simple for anyone to join. To join Alliant you only need to meet one of the five different criteria that they have in place. One of those criteria is simply donating at least $10 to Foster Care to Success.

The perks you’ll receive by joining this credit union include:

  • Mobile Banking
  • Free Credit Score Access
  • Online Bill Pay
  • Budgeting and Planning Tools
  • Competitive Interest Rates

They also offer checking accounts that don’t require a minimum balance, have no service fee and allow up to $20 per month in rebates for out of network ATMs.

Consumer’s Credit Union

Consumer’s Credit Union is another easy to join institution. To become a member all you need to do is make a one-time payment of $5.00 to Consumer’s Cooperative Association.

The perks you’ll receive by joining this credit union include:

  • Free Mobile Banking & Mobile Check Deposit
  • Competitive Mortgage Rates & Auto Loans
  • Online Bill Pay

This credit union also offers high yield, free rewards checking account and ATM surcharge fee reimbursements.


According to JD Power’s 2015 Retail Banking Satisfaction Survey Rabobank was the top rated bank in California and the top rated bank overall. With this banks community service efforts it’s easy to see why they were first on the list.

If you are a California resident some of the perks of banking with Rabobank include:

  • Mobile Banking, Telephone Banking and Text Banking
  • Retirement Accounts
  • Competitive Mortgage Rates
  • Savings and Money Market Accounts


Simple is an online bank that has no branches and absolutely no fees. What I love most about Simple is the abundance of financial tools they offer.

There are many benefits of banking with Simple including:

  • Customer Service via Phone Call or Online Chat
  • Top Notch Mobile Banking
  • 50,000 Fee Free ATMS
  • Budgeting and Automatic Saving Apps

While Simple doesn’t provide you with checks they will print and mail a paper check for you for free.


USAA is our favorite bank, but it isn’t at the top of the list simply because it limits membership to service members and their dependents. I love USAA because they offer free checking with ATM reimbursement, great online tools, and an easy to use mobile app.

If you can qualify for USAA, you can get great features like:

  • Free checking and savings accounts
  • Free mobile banking with mobile check deposit
  • ATM fee reimbursement
  • Awesome financial planning tools (especially for military members and their families)

We’d love to hear if you’ve had a great experience with your bank or credit union. What banks or credit unions would you add to the list?

Photo Credits: daviles / 123RF Stock Photo and daviles / 123RF Stock Photo

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