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Gen Z Won't Know A World With Cash

The other day I was driving with Jonah and pulled into our bank’s ATM line because I’ve grown sick of asking him for the $75 he owes me. To be honest, it really had nothing to do with the reimbursement and everything to do with him following up on his commitment. It was me trying to be a parent.

While pulling into line, he says, “What are you doing?”
I respond, “We’re going to the ATM so you can pay me back.”
After a huge grunt where I expected him to admit defeat, he instead says, “Why are we wasting time in this line? I’ll just VENMO you.”
“You’ll what?”
“VENMO you. Let’s go. This line is taking forever.”

I was not about to pull out of the line and instead used our waiting time to learn about this app I have heard rumblings about but haven’t yet paid much attention. Basically, you confidentially connect your bank account to this platform and then anyone on VENMO can exchange money with the click of a button. It’s like sending cash in a text. For any Gen Zers reading this, they’re likely thinking, “Uh, where have you been?” But for this Gen Xer, it really made me think about Gen Z and how they will interact with money. Jonah explained to me that he didn’t remember the last time he handed cash to a friend to pay him back for a Dominos pizza or movie tickets. In fact, Jonah doesn’t remember the last time he even carried cash. Even more crazy, because he has Apple Pay, he told me he leaves his debit card at home!

Simply put, “Why would I dad? I can VENMO to friends or I can Apple Pay at a store."

My generation really witnessed a slow transition to a paperless society, but I never imagined paperless would include dollar bills. Gen Z will be the generation to grow up without cash or plastic cards. Will ATMs end up like pay phones?

By the time we got to the front of the line, Jonah had set me up on VENMO and yes, paid me back. It really was that simple.

Now the real question is if it was that simple, why did it take so long to pay me back? I guess some things won’t change after all.

To learn more about Generation Z in our new book, Gen Z @ Work, click here.