Dollars and Sense: Going Digital

STARKVILLE, Miss. (WCBI)- If cash is king, then digital platforms are preparing to overtake the throne. Digital or online banking and payment methods like Cash App, Venmo, PayPal, Apple Pay, and more taking the economic world by storm. The American Banking Association says younger adults are 54 percent more like to make mobile payments.

“I used to use cash app for almost everything but I heard a lot of people talking about how they had security issues so I kinda stepped away from that,” said one student on Mississippi State’s campus.

ABA also shows 92 percent of adults between the ages of 18 to 34 are more likely to manage their bank accounts compared to 49 percent of adults 65 and older.

It’s a trend that Senior Vice President for Regions Bank Ashley Mclellan has witnessed.

“The future is electronics and everything online, said Mclellan. “I would say depending on your age is depending on your comfort level with technology and apps. We have grown our apps and our platforms to be more user-friendly and we want them to work with each other so you can have it all at a one-stop-shop to make transfers online.”

Tom Miller, a finance professor at Mississippi State University, sees similar trends with his students. “They have grown up in a world of largely digital payments. Actually, some of my students have said to me in the class said that they are not sure if they could write a check if they have to.”

Are days of checkbooks soon behind us? We asked students on campus about their experience writing checks.

“My only experience is watching my parents use them growing up”, said one student on her way to class. “I know what they are. I know how they work but I’ve never written one.”

Here is a back and forth discussion between me and another student discussing his experience learning how to write checks in high school:

“I have no experience either but I have an idea on how to do a check.” “You said you took a class on how to write a check?” asked WCBI reporter Winston Reed. “Yeah, I took a class back in 10th grade.”

“What did you learn?” I asked. 

“It was a personal finance class. We learned how to save money. Do a check. How to spend wisely.”

“They’re used to paying with their smartphone through various digital platforms and paying each other,” said Miller. “If they go out as a group they swap money around with their cell phones. If you think about it, it’s easier to write a bad check than it is to have a bad or counterfeit transaction using electronic payment.”

But the digital age has not wiped checks away completely especially when paying bills.

I asked a third yet another student on campus, “What’s your experience using a checkbook?”

He responds, “For the most part only to pay my first month’s rent.”

To add more context, according to Harland Clarke’s Insight Center, 42 percent of millennials still use checks.


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