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Study: 5 million millennials don’t have a checking account

In this 2011 photo, Bank of America customers

In this 2011 photo, Bank of America customers use ATM machines in New York. Credit: AP Photo Mark Lennihan

Leave it to the millennials to buck tradition — they don’t want their parents’ banking products. According to a new study from The Center for Generational Kinetics and Global Cash Card, some five million millennials don’t have a checking account. Why? Nearly half said they don’t trust banks.

“Millennials don’t want a bank. We want an experience. This generation is looking for help running their lives, not just their finances. We want an interactive experience to learn about investing. We want step by step instructions on paying back our student loans. We want virtual advisers to guide us through making big purchases,” says Gabrielle Jackson Bosche, a Millennial strategist and author of “5 Millennial Myths: The Handbook for Managing and Motivating Millennials.”

She says millennials want an interactive concierge experience, “not just a place to store our checking account.”

It’s all about entertainment. “Millennials want gamification — whether it’s investing or paying back their loans, they want interactive, fun and competitive forms of financial education,” says Bosche. To them, live chats are already old school. “Banks need to utilize video meeting tools like FaceTime or Google Hangout to make banking professionals more accessible.”

Millennials are about the here and now. Another survey found that only 10 percent of millennials polled said growing their nest egg for retirement was a top priority, compared to 31 percent who are prioritizing travel and 22 percent who are hoping to buy a home.

Not surprising, millennials are quick to utilize technology. They love tech driven, money management start-ups like WealthFront and Robinhood. Many of this generation prefer to create a portfolio by going to a website or using an app on their own.

For all their savvy though, they are not without challenges. Average student loan debt has risen 56 percent in the last 10 years, and is near $30,000.

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