Welcome to Klarna’s Money Management Report!

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 11 countries (the US, UK, Australia, Germany, Austria, the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Sweden, Norway, and Finland). The research is conducted quarterly and always includes a minimum of 1,000 respondents in each country.

In total, more than 11,740 consumers participated during Q1 2022 (January-March). The sample sizes are nationally representative, naturally including both Klarna users and non-Klarna users, and have been selected by research agency Nepa.

11 countries

11,740 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.

Insights.

  • Millennials have the highest overall interest in personal finances compared to younger and older generations.
  • 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 Finland and Norway—which 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 11 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.

Insights.

  • Physical cards are the biggest divider between generations, while the preference for cash splits relatively evenly.

  • The most 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.

Insights.

  • 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.

  • French consumers currently express the highest preference for biometrics, which is mainly driven by younger generations.

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.

Insights.

  • $100 is the average amount of cash in Americans’ wallets, the most out of any country. That’s 69% 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.

Insights.

  • The average American withdraws cash more than 3 times as often as the average Norwegian.

  • 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.

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.

Insights.

  • 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.

Mobile 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.

Insights.

  • Only Sweden has a higher than average usage across all devices for both apps and browsers. 

  • The only countries that are below average for both apps and browsers on mobile devices are Germany, Austria, and France.

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.

Insights.

  • 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. 

Insights.

  • The global average is to allocate 12% of income for savings. 

  • Australians and the Dutch save the highest share of their income—Germans save the least.

  • Men tend to save a slightly higher share of their income than women.

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.

Insights.

  • More than 4 in 5 either save in a bank account, invest their money—or do both.

  • The gender gap is bigger than the generational, with men investing at a higher rate than women in all countries.

  • 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. 

Insights.

  • Stocks are the most popular form of investment in every country except Germany, Austria, and Sweden.

  • Cryptocurrencies as a form of investment are the most popular in the Netherlands.

Australians and the French are far more likely than others to invest in property.

Saving for a rainy day – or a sunny place.

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

Insights.

  • Having a buffer for unforeseen expenses is the primary focus across all generations, except for Gen Z, who primarily save to buy a home.

  • A buffer for unforeseen expenses or saving for a vacation is the top primary focus across all countries, except for Australia, Belgium, France, and Germany (vacation) and the US (retirement).

  • Saving for education and a future home becomes less common with age, and so does saving for purchases of physical items, events, and experiences. On the contrary, saving for retirement and vacations becomes more common in older generations.

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!