97% of teens say financial literacy is important

Gen Z dishes on what they’re looking for in a bank & how they’re taking control of their financial futures.

According to a new survey from Step, the modern-day financial services company built for teens and families, a whopping 97% of teens think financial literacy is important and expressed concerns about being written off by traditional banks.

Additionally, as the pandemic has driven more teens to get financially fit, 38% say they still lack the educational resources needed to achieve financial independence. As a result, teens are taking initiative, looking to fintech platforms and social media to help fill this gap.

CJ MacDonald, Founder and CEO at Step

While it’s great to see the continued shift towards digital banking, that alone is not enough to combat the financial literacy crisis. Teens need products that can be easily embedded within their daily lives and prioritize education as much as functionality.

Gen Z isn't settling for the status quo

When it comes to selecting a bank, teens take this financial relationship very seriously, opting to do their own research instead of just settling for their parent’s bank. They say it’s extremely important that the bank is:

  • Trustworthy (34%);
  • Built for teens (26%); and
  • Fee-free (24%).

As for traditional banks, teens are well aware of how they’re viewed and say these institutions get a lot of things wrong. Now they’re setting the record straight and say the biggest misconceptions banks have about Gen Z are that:

  • Teens aren’t concerned about their financial futures (42%);
  • Don’t make enough money to be seen as valuable customers (25%); and
  • Are okay with paying fees (20%).

Teens are taking ownership of their financial futures

Many teens saw their parents struggle during the pandemic and 31% even helped contribute financially. This has left a lasting impression and teens are more determined than ever before to educate themselves about finances.

They are also surprisingly savvy when it comes to understanding various forms of payment and keeping up with economic events that could impact their wallets. For instance, most teens:

  • Know what a credit score is (70%);
  • Are aware of cryptocurrency (56%); and
  • Understand how the stimulus bill works (55%).

When asked what financial independence means to them, for some teens it’s as simple as not having to rely on their parents for money (40%) while others are thinking bigger picture and say it will allow them to pursue their dreams without restraint (22%)

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