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Digital payments aren’t just for Gen Z. These Baby Boomers prefer phones and watches to cash and credit cards

Erin McCarthy, The Philadelphia Inquirer on

Published in Fashion Daily News

PHILADELPHIA -- Kim Cooper hates having to carry around a physical credit card.

The 65-year-old has been forced to do so for the past few months, she said, because of an issue with her new smartphone’s digital wallet.

“Now I have to be one of those idiots pulling out a card,” Cooper said. “It’s so frustrating.”

If she can’t figure out a fix for her mobile-wallet issues, she said, she’ll either get a new phone or buy a smartwatch that will allow her to make payments on her wrist.

“I just like being streamlined,” said Cooper, who runs a pet-sitting business. “That is why years ago I stopped carrying a wallet.”

As a Baby Boomer, Cooper is in the minority. Among consumers 60 and older, about a quarter use digital wallets, according to a recent survey by the financial research firm Pymnts Intelligence. That’s compared to nearly 80% of Gen Zers — the oldest of whom turn 27 this year — and 67% of millennials in their late 20s and early 30s who use the technology.


Several local consumers in their 60s and 70s told The Inquirer last month that they prefer physical cards and cash, in part because they don’t trust technology with their financial information. For some, it’s also a matter of sticking to old habits.

“I still have one friend who is paying with nickels and dimes,” Cooper said. If the friend owes $10.27, for example, “she is getting the cash together and counting out 27 cents.”

For Baby Boomers who do use digital wallets, they can’t imagine going back. Some in Philadelphia say they’ve always been interested in using the latest technology, whether it was the Commodore 64 home computer in the 1980s or the Netscape browser in the 1990s.

Today, their embrace of digital technology is sometimes met with astonishment and even trepidation from cashiers and fellow shoppers.


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