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Millennials' distrust of banks is spawning a new breed of startups.

Stashed in: Young Americans, Awesome, Aspiration, NEA, Personal Finance, Fintech, Cognitive Bias, Millennials

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No one has really cracked the nut yet.

Older millennials likely graduated college into an environment where jobs were scarce, and younger millennials are currently saddled with hefty student debt, so it's no wonder young people are feeling distrustful of existing financial institutions. 

That's according to Rick Yang, a partner at New Enterprise Associates, one of the world's oldest venture capital firms. Yang is focused on consumer and fintech companies, and he's noticed some big changes over the past few years: mainly, that more and more consumer finance startups are springing up with millennials in mind. 

"There’s a massive shift in consumer behavior and consumer trust," Yang told Business Insider. " I think coming out of [the financial crisis], millennials have a massive distrust of existing financial services. They tend to trust technology more than the recognized stalwart brands, like a J.P. Morgan Chase or a Wells Fargo."

While Yang said he hasn't seen any startup "crack" what it means to be a consumer bank quite yet, plenty of companies are already giving it a shot.

Startups like Simple and Chime are encouraging millennials to spend and save through a mobile app rather than keep their money in a more traditional bank. And Venmo, which allows users to more easily transfer money, just added an option to pay in other apps using Venmo, much like Apple Pay. 

But services like Chime and Simple are "layered" on top of FDIC-insured, existing banks, which means there needs to be collaboration between big banks and the startups that want to disrupt them.

"I think it’s really hard to offer a full suite of banking and I think companies and startups, as well as the existing financial institutions, don’t really understand what the right amount of collaboration is yet," Yang said. "It’s one of those things where at the end of the day, both sides are going to realize that they need each other but both sides are a little wary of each other."

And much like the transportation industry, Yang said, more established companies are going to be slow to adopt to the latest trend. While smaller banks and financial institutions are going to be motivated to make changes to attract young, lower-earning customers, it's going to take longer for the giants to come around — and by then, it may be too late. 

SEE ALSO: This Australian was shocked at how terrible American banking was, so he created a company to disrupt it

Only 37 percent of American households headed by someone aged 35 and under held credit card debt:

But it is clear to economists who study payment patterns that millennials are gravitating toward payment methods that skirt both cash and credit. Why carry cash when you can whip out a debit card for the smallest transaction — a sandwich or a bottle of soda — or use an app like Venmo or an online payment service like PayPal? All of those typically draw funds directly from a bank account.


Only 37 percent of American households headed by someone aged 35 and under held credit card debt in 2013, the most recent year for which data from the Survey of Consumer Finances is available, down by nearly a quarter from immediately before the financial crisis. That statistic may undercount young cardholders to some extent, as it excludes people under 35 who live with their parents.

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