Gen Z’s Financial Future: Navigating debit, credit, and digital influence with Mastercard’s Bunita Sawhney

  • 52% of Gen Z worry about their financial future -- that's 2x what previous generations report.
  • Mastercard's Bunita Sawhney, Global Head of Consumer Products and Processing, shares insights how her firm is helping Gen Z navigate through debit and credit products.

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Gen Z’s Financial Future: Navigating debit, credit, and digital influence with Mastercard’s Bunita Sawhney

This episode of The Tearsheet Podcast delves into the evolving financial landscape for Gen Z, focusing on their transition from debit to credit usage. Bunita Sawhney, Global Head of Consumer Products and Processing at Mastercard, shares insights from her presentation at the Tearsheet Gen Z Symposium, held March 7, 2024 in New York City, emphasizing the increasing role of women in financial decision-making. We explore Gen Z’s preference for debit cards over credit cards, driven by factors like control and familiarity.

Bunita highlights the importance of partnerships and innovative strategies to engage Gen Z, advocating for financial literacy initiatives and alternative credit-building solutions like installment plans and Buy Now, Pay Later options. The discussion also touches on Mastercard’s collaborations with fintech firms like Greenlight and Juvo to promote financial education and inclusion among younger demographics. Ultimately, the podcast aims to shed light on the challenges and opportunities in catering to Gen Z’s financial needs and preferences.

The big ideas

    • Gen Z’s Influence in Financial Decision Making: “To this day, 90% of payment decisions or household buying decisions are made by or with women. And that’s true for Gen Z as well. Over 25% of women say that they are the sole decision-maker in their household’s financial decisions.”

    • Gen Z’s Digital and Social Natives: “It is a really special moment, not only because we’re on the cusp of International Women’s Day, so happy International Women’s Day to all of you. And I do like to think not only about the women in our company and how we serve and support them, but the women who we and our product support and serve as well, because I’ll spend a minute on that as I transition us over into Gen Z.”

    • Preference for Debit Cards: “Debit is still the most accepted and the largest payment vehicle and the most consistently used all around the world. And that is true also for our Gen Z consumers. Why? Because it meets some of their critical needs, it meets their need for control, it meets their need for understanding and having control over their payments.”

    • Importance of Credit Building: “Credit doesn’t have to revolve first of all, right? We know now with the advent and the absolute take-off of installment solutions, and buy now pay later solutions, that there’s plenty of easy ways to have access to short, non-APR related ways to pay in four, pay in six without a fee or without an APR as an example.”

    • Financial Literacy and Education: “We know that 52% of Gen Z consumers worry about financial security. That’s twice as much as the generations before them — two times more worry.”

    • Partnerships and Innovation: “We’re in a different place with a different level of information flow with a really curious group, that are finding ways to inform themselves through social platforms, as I said, and others through influencers, who we need to continue to partner with more so than ever.”

Listen to the full episode

Subscribe: Apple Podcasts I SoundCloud I Spotify I Google Podcasts The following excerpts were edited for clarity.

First up, we have Bunita Sawhney from Mastercard. Bunita is the Executive Vice President of Consumer Products and Processing at MasterCard and a member of the company’s management committee. She oversees all consumer and issuer product offerings, including the company’s credit, debit and prepaid products as well as ESG products and innovations and this key leadership role. She’s responsible for enabling more secure and innovative ways for consumers to make everyday purchases. And prior to this role, Bunita was Mastercard’s, Executive Vice President of US Financial Institutions, where she worked alongside customers to deliver products and services that meet people’s everyday needs. With security and peace of mind at the core, she focused on growing the consumer, Small Business and commercial business through strong partnerships, innovation, and thought leadership.

Bunita is the global executive sponsor of Mastercard’s Women’s Leadership Network, and she’s also a member of Women in Payments advisory board. She holds a master’s degree in Strategic Communications from Columbia University, and a bachelor’s degree in business administration from UC Berkeley. Read the transcript (for Tearsheet Pro subscribers) subscription wall for TS Pro

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