Welcome to Klarna’s Money Management Pulse!

Technology has changed the way people manage their everyday personal finances. Checking your account balance is no longer a chore, and payments happen in the blink of an eye without any physical cash transactions. Yet some habits remain, and preferences shift heavily across generations and the globe.

In this report, you will find a pulse check on money management habits in a selection of countries around the world.

Happy exploring!

Methodology.

Insights from Klarna’s consumer research, conducted in cooperation with Nepa across 13 countries (the US, UK, Ireland, Australia, Germany, Austria, the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Sweden, Norway, Finland and Denmark). The research is conducted quarterly and always includes a minimum of 1,000 respondents in each country.

In total, more than 14,114 consumers participated during Q2 2022 (April-June). The sample sizes are nationally representative, naturally including both Klarna users and non-Klarna users, and have been selected by research agency Nepa.

13 countries

14,114 consumers

High interest in personal finances.

It’s a pattern seen across generations. However, Millennials express the highest interest—which correlates with their frequent interactions with financial providers.

Gender has a bigger impact than age.

Although interest in personal finances is consistent across generations, men are generally more interested in personal finance.

Millennials

have the highest overall interest in personal finances compared to younger and older generations.

Gender

has a bigger impact than age. Men express a higher interest in personal finances than women, and the gap is highest in the US, UK, Austria and Sweden. The only countries where women express a higher interest than men are Austria, Finland and Norway—of which the latter two also are the countries with the highest overall interest.

Cash is no longer king.

Our increasingly digitized society also means preferences for payments in physical stores are evolving. In fact, only 2 out of the 13 countries covered in this report have a population preferring cash.

Innovation introduces new habits.

Gen Z’ers preference for digital devices like smartphones and smartwatches means neither hard cash or physical cards have a natural place in their pockets anymore. And with smartwatches on the rise, and biometrics on the horizon, much is likely to change in this space in the near future.

Physical cards growing old

the generations preference for physical cards grows bigger with age, while the preference for cash splits relatively evenly in comparison.

Digital overtaking cash

there is a distinct generational differentiation is between physical cards and digital devices like smartphones and smartwatches. Gen Z have a higher preference for paying with smartphones or smartwatches than with cash in all countries.

Contrasting payment preferences across countries.

The difference in payment preferences gets even clearer when the countries are placed next to each other in the index.

Cash remains royal in DACH

Germany and Austria stand out with a high preference for cash compared to the other countries. On the other side of the coin, consumers in Nordic countries seldom use cash and prefer physical payment cards to a much higher extent.

Cash in pocket.

How thick a shoppers’ wallet is varies across countries. The US stands out as the country with the highest amount of cash in shoppers’ wallets as opposed to Nordic countries such as Sweden and Norway.

$94

is the average amount of cash in Americans’ wallets, the most out of any country. That’s $35 more than the average amount of cash found in Swedish wallets ($59), who have the least cash in their wallets.

Cash withdrawals.

Until alternative payment methods become universal, cash will still be relevant. And there will be a need to access funds before payment can be made.

Cash withdrawals are naturally more frequent in countries with a higher preference for cash. Still, they don’t scale with preferences—which may indicate unplanned withdrawals for consumers who would have preferred to pay otherwise.

Younger generations tend to withdraw cash more often despite preferring to pay with digital devices, indicating that availability is not meeting the demands.

3x

the average American withdraws cash almost 3 times as often as the average Swede.

Digitalization is changing the way people bank.

All over the world, well-established banks are closing down their physical banking locations as consumers increasingly interact with their funds digitally. At the same time, neo-banks are challenging incumbents with a digital-first approach for specific banking services.

Mobile banking on the rise.

New and innovative mobile apps are offered by both the established banks and the challengers. Meanwhile, consumers have become increasingly tech-savvy.

Mobile and tablet

usage for financial services is generally trending upwards worldwide. This is especially true for activities such as checking one’s account balance and money transfers. Meanwhile, the usage of computer browsers is trending downwards across the world.

Digital banking around the world.

Thanks to the increased availability of innovative digital solutions, higher tech-savviness, and raised interest in personal finance—the way people bank is changing. Still, the pace at which it is all evolving varies across demographics.

Gen Z & Millennials

are mobile first, using apps and browsers on mobile devices, while Gen X and Baby Boomers more often use computers to access banking services.

Younger generations interact with banking services at a higher frequency.

Mobile banking increases accessibility to services, enabling less financially experienced consumers to retain better control over their money.

Americans and Brits

interact with financial services more often than others, across all activities measured.

Younger generations

use financial services more often, especially for transferring money, sorting expenses into categories and managing their savings. The youngest Americans and Australians manage their savings about twice as often as their peers in the Nordic countries.

Attitudes to savings.

When it comes to saving money, the differences are not as evident in the share of income saved as it is in the way that people choose to do with that money. The most significant differences are found in the attitudes around investing money to grow funds or potentially risk losing one’s funds.

8 out of 10 save money.

Across all countries and generations, consumers consistently are saving money. 

82%

saves money from their income in the wider global population. Gen Z’ers (90%) are the most frugal generation.

12%

is the average share of income saved. Gen Z’ers (17%) allocate money for savings to the highest extent.

Save in a bank account. Or invest.

The attitude towards utilizing various investments to grow savings or keep money in a bank account is shared across generations. But not across countries.

Gender

has a bigger impact than age, and men invest at a higher rate than women in all countries.

Country of residence

has an even bigger impact. The difference between the share of the population saving money in bank accounts and those investing is highest in the UK, Australia, the Netherlands, and France. (It’s lowest in Sweden and Finland.)

Stocks, bonds—or cryptocurrency.

There are numerous ways to invest for those willing to do so, each with its potential upsides and risks. 

Stocks

are the most popular form of investment in every country except Germany, Austria, and Sweden, who instead prefer mutual funds and ETF’s.

2x

men are twice as likely to invest in cryptocurrencies than women.

Environmentally sustainable investments are in-demand.

Growing money—while promoting planet health. The majority has considered investing in companies with an environmentally sustainable profile.

1 in 3

consumers have actively chosen to invest in environmentally sustainable companies, and as many have considered it but not yet done so. Only 27% say that they choose the investment product that will yield the highest returns regardless if they are sustainable or not.

Saving for a rainy day—or a sunny place.

The most common reasons for saving differ across generations, and depending on where you live.

2x

Baby boomers are more than twice as likely to be saving money for the purpose of having a buffer for unforeseen expenses compared to Gen Z’ers.

7x

Gen Z’ers are instead primarily saving to afford a house or apartment as primary residence. They are 7 times more likely to do that compared to Baby boomers, 3 times compared to Gen X’ers and slightly more likely than Millennials, who represent the generational tipping point between primarily focusing on building a rainy day fund and entering the housing market.

A bright future.

People across the world are optimistic about their future financial outlook—and more people believe they will be in a better place in the near future.

Most have a positive outlook.

And it is especially the young who believe their financial situation will be improved.

And that’s that.

Klarna’s Money Management Pulse insights are updated quarterly, so stay tuned for future updates.

Thirsty for more knowledge?

Make sure to check out the other reports that are available at Klarna Insights!