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Boomers and Millennials square off over digital payments

Boomers and Millennials square off over digital payments

Earlier this week, our consulting firm Hanifin Loyalty engaged a service provider who presented an invoice to be paid via Square Cash. We managed to remit funds as requested but the transaction didn’t go down without a healthy debate between myself and my Digital Strategy Director about the efficacy and security of this new payment channel.

Call it a debate between Boomers and Millennials on the changing face of the payments landscape, or just an illustration of the type of dialogue that needs to take place to keep the generation gap between Millennials and Boomers as tiny and manageable as possible. Either way, its clear that Millennials are making payment choices and are comfortable with a range of payment technology that still give Boomers pause for concern.

Here’s a view into our discussion:

Boomer: I don’t mind trying something new. I’m already familiar with Square as a merchant acceptance method and have a Square dongle myself. We routinely use PayPal and I’ve made Peer to Peer payments with Chase’s Quick Pay. But come on, is this one step too far?

Millennial: Not sure what you’re worried about (haha). I’ve been using Square Cash for a while now. It is easy, secure, and most of my friends use it too. Remember that you reimbursed me for the office lunch last week using Square Cash?

Boomer: You’re right, I did pay for lunch with Square Cash, but that was a $27 lunch. This is a much bigger invoice. What concerns me is linking an online app to my business debit card.

Millennial: Maybe you just don’t know enough about it. It’s built for convenience and works on the run. You can send and receive money from your mobile phone or with email. There are built-in safeguards to recover money when you make a mistake and payments are limited to the US in case you’re worried about those foreign hackers.

Boomer: Convenience is a factor, but did you see the interface on the Square Cash website? Seems to me that users are left to figure out how to use the service all on their own. Granted there is a Help link at the bottom of the page, but the casual look and feel of the site doesn’t instill confidence in this product as a secure payment channel.

Millennial: The simplicity is the key. Let me show you their mobile app. It’s even more simple and easy to use. In about 3 clicks I can transfer money to friends and family.

Boomer: Maybe that is what bothers me. Sending money is done by creating an email directed to the payee and entering a Square Cash designated email address in the CC line. I’ve sent emails to the wrong person before and am afraid my fat fingers might send money to the wrong ones as well. What happens then?

Millennial: Why don’t we find out? I’ll walk you through the process and you will see for yourself.

Boomer: I’m not letting you hold my hand.

Millennial (after helping Boomer through another small transaction): There you go. The money has been sent, you received a confirmation email asking you to identify yourself using either your Facebook credentials or by entering some personal data, and now you have a confirmation from the recipient that the payment was completed properly.

Boomer: I’m mostly convinced that Square Cash is a dependable way to exchange money, but I have to ask this question: how long will it take until we could propose this as an alternative to our own clients, mostly familiar brand names and Fortune 500 companies? Payments in this domain send checks, wire transfers, and use ACH. I’m lucky that these companies are willing to click a link to access our invoices online. Asking them to pay that invoice using Square Cash, PayPal and the like might be a stretch.

Millennial: Due to the fact that Square Cash has a few limits on the amount that can be transferred on a weekly basis and most of our invoices surpass the $2,500 limit (for upgraded and verified accounts) I agree it may not be a good fit for our clients. But this is a great choice for reimbursements between us on a personal level and for paying for selected services like we did this week. Plus, there’s one big benefit – there are no fees associated with this service – and I hear you complaining about bank wire transfer fees. It’s my preferred method of payment as well and I am sure will be yours very soon ;)  lol.

Boomer: You might be right. You usually are these days! And, considering that the average age of our client contacts is trending more towards yours than mine, I’ll keep an open mind.