The Death of Checks? Millennials Think So

Money By Stefan Zechner Apr 5, 2017

Many of us look forward to it each year: birthday and holiday money from friends and family. But a lot more goes into gifting money than stuffing cash in a greeting card for some people. It’s not just how much people gift, but how people gift.

According to our February 2017 Gifting Survey†, checks could be on the decline. Only 7% of millennials prefer gifting checks over cash, branded gift cards, and money transfers, compared to 20% of people over 55. And though seniors may appreciate this somewhat antiquated transaction method more than younger generations, cash is still king for all age groups.


Younger gifters were slightly more keen on branded gift cards, a relatively new trend, but they also revealed a lower propensity to gift money at all. Those over age 55 were most likely to gift money in comparison to millennials and 35-44 year olds.

Not So Fast, Online Shopping

When it comes to gift card purchases, 84% of gifters prefer to buy at brick-and-mortar locations, despite the convenience and ease that online shopping offers. And of those with an offline preference, in-store purchases were far more popular than buying at a 3rd party retailer like, a supermarket or drugstore.


Unsurprisingly, seniors were least likely to purchase them online, but even millennials favor brick-and-mortar options.

Millennials More Careful When Spending “Gifted” Money

When redeeming a gift card, older consumers might be spending more than they were gifted. 47% of respondents aged 35-54 agreed that they are more likely to spend more, rather than less or exactly, the amount issued. Younger respondents, on the other hand, were most likely to spend less than or exactly the card’s amount.


Overall, branded gift cards appear to be a growing trend, but retailers may not be able to count on the traditional tendency to overspend. Millennials, especially millennial men, are more likely to spend exactly (31.2%) or less than (26.6%) a card’s value, compared to their older counterparts.

†Results are based on a survey conducted on the Google Consumer Surveys publisher network on March 1-2, 2017, with a random sample of 1,533 Internet users, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. The final survey results are weighted to provide a representative sample of the U.S. population regardless of age, gender, region and other demographic factors.