Age: 51
Location: Canada
Occupation: Sales manager

John shows a little gray around the edges, juggling his managerial job at Toronto-based toilet paper-maker, coaching his son’s hockey team and trying to convince his aging mother to move into a senior condo. After dinner, John’s kids disappear to their respective corners so John and his wife can enjoy an evening of tv mystery-watching.


Age: 48
Location: United Kingdom
Occupation: University reader in economics

Born in India and educated in the United Kingdom, Priya teaches in the economics department at Cambridge University. Priya’s nest is beginning to empty as she and her husband launch their eldest. In pursuing her passion for photographing birds, she often visits a camera specialty store to pick the store manager’s brain and buy gadgets for her top-of-the-line camera.


Age: 41
Location: Mexico
Occupation: Retail sales clerk

Camilla heads a multi-generational household while her husband works across the Mexican border in the United States. Abuela keeps an eye on the children while Camilla works in a clothing boutique. Even with two incomes, savings are limited. “There always seems to be an emergency, and I cannot deny my daughters proper quinceañera celebrations.”


Age: 44
Location: China
Occupation: Agricultural scientist

Chen lives with his wife and son in the Shunyi District on the outskirts of Beijing. He works for the government in agricultural science to increase green food production. On weekends, Chen and his son debate whether to go hiking or visit the indoor skiing resort. Chen and his family enjoy frequent travel, and having one child makes that dream easier to achieve.


40 to 54 years old

Nearly three-quarters (71%) of Gen X members are employed, and another 12% self-employed. Although they could access a wide range of payment choices, Generation X payment preferences are more traditional than millennials’ – more often choosing plastic over digital payments. Half (53%) of Gen X is in the mainstream when it comes to technology adoption.



use mobile wallets and 22% manage their loyality cards on them

Gen X is often sandwiched between the needs of children who haven’t yet flown the nest and aging parents. Although Gen X’s spending power rises with their increasing incomes, they consider a lower percentage of their earnings as disposable, and devote a smaller portion of their larger paychecks to savings.

Gen X - A day in the life: Grocery shopping


For Gen Xers, grocery shopping sometimes turns into a weekly family adventure to ensure that everyone has a vote on what appears on the dinner table. Even Camilla, whose husband is often absent due to work, takes her mother and daughters along.

Learn more about regional generational trends through our insights report.

“My kids tease me about not downloading the credit card app on my mobile.”


John’s credit card lets him and his wife earn points to apply to grocery, health and beauty aids, and apparel purchases at the supermarket. With two teenagers easily consuming 3,000 calories a day, John and Sarah welcome the help to reduce their grocery bills.

“It’s inconvenient to carry two cards, but I want the discounts.”

Grocery shopping

Priya stops at a local favorite of hungry university students on her way home from lecturing. She picks up chicken curry for dinner and a few spices that she can’t find at the family’s stock-up grocery store. They belong to the loyalty program offering cash discounts redeemed by scanning its card at point of sale. Priya pays with her charge card by tapping the POS terminal.

My husband and I are saving money to afford bank account fees.

Grocery shopping

Camilla and her daughters make a game out of shopping. After cashing her check, Camilla shops the grocery aisles, and the girls search the teen clothing department for bargains. Unbanked, Camilla relies upon how much cash she has leftover, after she pays for groceries, to treat her daughters.

27% prefer to pay for groceries with credit cards
24% prefer cash
21% prefer debit cards/prepaid card
Did you know?

Gen X’s preferred payment methods for groceries are similar to baby boomers’ preferences.

They are more likely to dip their credit cards at the grocery checkout than younger consumers, but they are not as tied to credit cards as beyond boomers.

Along with every other generation than Gen Z, about one-quarter (24%) of Gen X members prefer to pay for groceries in cash – 10+ percentage points below cash-dependent Gen Z.

About one-fifth of millennials, Gen Xers and baby boomers select debit/prepaid cards as their preferred payment method for groceries. Fewer Gen Z members and beyond boomers use a debit/prepaid card – the former opting for cash, the latter for credit cards.



Destination: Lake of the Woods, Ontario
Payment methods: Credit card
John and his teenage sons are “roughing it” in an expensive historic three-bedroom cabin on the Lake of the Woods waterfront. Their plan to live off the fish they catch, plus what’s packed in their cooler hasn’t materialized well enough to feed his hulking teens. Rescued by the nearby grocery, John pulls out his credit card.
Destination: India
Payment methods: Credit card
Priya and her husband apply their credit card points toward airline tickets for their annual trek to visit family in India. Priya’s eldest has opted out of the trip claiming the need to study, and they anticipate next year, the younger sibling will follow her sister’s lead. Being able to use a credit card anywhere makes payments seamless for Priya.
Destination: Yalong Bay, China
Payment methods: Mobile wallet
Chen’s family treats itself to a five-day vacation on Yalong Bay, where “the sea is blue, and the sand is soft.” They hop in their electric minivan, which suits Chen’s pro-green sensibility and has a good safety record of only catching fire once since the model’s release. After their five-hour drive, the family checks in through a digital wallet service.
Did you know?

Generation X’s payment preferences for travel are heavily skewed toward credit card usage, similar to baby boomers and beyond boomers. Millennials are a little less likely to use credit cards and a little more likely to use debit cards for travel.

Significant differences in payment preference between Gen X and Gen Z are driven by Gen Z’s reliance upon cash, and their far lower usage of credit cards.

China, where digital wallet services dominate, is an exception.

63% of U.S. consumers were satisfied with how airlines handled refunds and postponed travel bookings during COVID.



Whatever basics his family doesn’t pick up at the grocery store, they buy online. But non-brand apparel doesn't cut it with his teenage boys or wife. Thanks to his wife's taste and their credit card, sometimes John’s clothes mysteriously appear in a box from a subscription clothing service.

“Trying on clothes in stores is such a waste of time, eh?”


Priya’s family shops online regularly. But she's hesitant to keep her card on file with a teenager in the house. Worse would be keeping her card on file at her daughter’s favorite clothing store, where her daughter always finds something fashionable. Priya enters her credit card information each time she makes an online purchase.

“I’d rather be safe than sorry when it comes to my credit card information.”


Chen’s wife regularly shops on a large e-commerce website for basics and some items that Chen considers unnecessary – clothing for their dog, for example. Chen shops for books on environmental farming and do-it-yourself repairs. Both use a digital wallet.

“Online shopping is so convenient that it’s too easy to waste money.”
Did you know?
40% prefer to use credit cards for online purchases
17% prefer mobile wallets
17% prefer debit/prepaid cards

Generation X’s payment preferences for online shopping are similar to those of baby boomers. They differ most from Gen Z and beyond boomers – Gen Z with less and the beyond boomers with more preference for online shopping with credit cards.

Gen X is slightly more likely than beyond boomers to prefer debit/prepaid card or digital payments.

Younger generations are more likely to keep their card on file.

58% of Canadians agree they spent more online during COVID.

Dining out


John figures he should take his wife out for a romantic dinner after returning from his fishing misadventure. He books a reservation at a restaurant where “the views, the wine list and the ethical cuisine make it a total pro move.” He pays his valet, maître ď, and sommelier in cash - and charges the rest on his points card.

"We should get plenty of points from this outing."

Dining out

Priya avoids dining out in the places where her students can interrupt with questions, especially around exam time. Priya and her husband stop for Thai food, where they seek shelter in a booth and order a meal suitably priced for an economics professor. They pay with their credit card by tapping it on the POS terminal.

“More points to fly away from students for two weeks.”

Dining out


When Camilla’s husband takes a break from work to visit his family, the couple celebrates at the diner while Abuela keeps a close watch on the daughters. On the way, Camilla and her husband make a quick stop to cash his check.

Interested in learning how COVID changed consumer behavior? Learn more through our report.

“Check-cashing fees are ridiculous. We need a bank account.”

Dining out

Chen invites his team to a seafood lunch, where Chen has the seat of honor and the honor of paying the bill. Not wishing to engage in an argument about who pays, Chen discretely pulls out cash and places it on the server’s tray when the bill is presented.

58% of U.S. consumers reported ordering take-out or drive-thru more often during COVID-19 to support their favorite restaurants.

30% prefer to use credit cards for dining out
24% prefer cash
19% prefer debit cards/prepaid cards

“Paying the bill with a digital wallet is easy when my wife and I eat out.”

Did you know?

Generation X payment preferences for dining out don’t vary much from millennials’ or baby boomers’ preferences. Gen X members are five percentage points more likely than millennials to pull out the credit card for payment and less likely to make contactless payments.

Compared with older consumers, Gen X members are somewhat more likely to make payment with their mobile (5%), but, beyond China, mobile payments at restaurants are the exception.

The most pronounced differences from Gen X payment preferences are found at the ends of the cohort spectrum. Beyond boomers are much more likely than any other generation to cling to credit cards while much of Gen Z depends on cash.


“It’s worth paying a bit extra to get a well-known brand.”



John heads to the department store because it offers the best brands of tools, sporting goods and fitness equipment. He’s checking out anti-shock trekking poles since he biffed it on a recent hike, which resulted in a red face and a black and blue derrière. John pays with his credit card to get his points.

“Here, I can easily compare options to find the best products to suit my needs.”



Usually cost-conscious, Priya loses it when she enters her favorite camera store to talk about her passion for photographing birds with the store manager. She’s had her eye on a super-telephoto zoom lens promised to produce dazzling photos. Priya finally takes the plunge with her credit card.

Learn how generational differences differ by country through our insights report.

“It's a lot to pay for a one-occasion dress, but it's worth it.”



Camilla does most of her household shopping at a big box retailer, but her daughter’s upcoming 15th birthday celebration calls for a fancier store. The family visits multiple shops in search of the perfect quinceañera gown. Finally, a persuasive saleswoman intervenes, and Camilla lays out 5,000 pesos – two weeks of grocery money – at the cash wrap.

“This bookstore is laid out so well that it’s easy to find what I’m looking for.”



Chen and his family head on the subway to Wangfuing Street, where Chen happily parks himself with their son at the well-laid-out bookstore while his wife speed-shops other specialty stores along the “Golden Street.” Chen finds a book he’s been looking for and a book his son wants and pays with his digital wallet. Learn how behavior is impacted by country through our insights report.

29% prefer to use credit cards for in-store shopping
22% prefer cash
20% prefer debit/prepaid cards
Did you know?

Generation X payment preferences for in-store shopping are nearly identical to those of baby boomers. They differ most from Gen Z and beyond boomers – Gen Z showing less and beyond boomers showing more preference for in-store shopping with credit cards – also noted for other payment occasions.

Millennials are more likely users of digital payments compared to Gen X members.



Last week John discovered that no family member is fit to be a plumber or electrician when the do-it-yourself fix on the toilet overflowed and shorted out a light on the floor below. John paid his rescuers with his credit card on their mobile reader.

“If I pay with a credit card and something goes haywire after they leave, I can count on a quick return call.”

Priya sets up recurring bills in autopay and pays other bills promptly with her banking app, but it’s a different story when she repays friends. Yesterday, Priya lunched with her co-worker Mary. Both short on cash, Mary put the tab on her credit card. Today Priya had to make a trip to the ATM for money to settle up with Mary.

“I’ve thought about using my bank’s mobile P2P app, but I’m a little concerned about security.”

41% prefer to settle up with friends in cash
11% use bank transfers
8% use debit/prepaid cards

Not yet banked, Camilla pays her bills at a retailer's in-store bill pay service when she cashes her paycheck or her husband sends money via transfer. Camilla thinks the fees should be lower, considering how much she spends at the retailer.

“These services are almost like having a bank account.”

Settling up with friends and family: P2P the norm in China

Most Saturday afternoons, Chen’s brother comes over with a six-pack of beer to watch sports. Chen uses his mobile app to pay back his cheapskate brother for every bottle Chen consumes while they gobble down way too many shrimp crackers.

“Payment apps mean I don’t need to make a special trip to the bank for Yuan to pay my brother.”

6% prefer to use mobile wallets
5% prefer to use a P2P payment
Did you know?

While millennials lead other generations in mobile banking, Gen X is not far behind, with 61% managing banking via mobile devices. However, they are further behind millennials in making payments with mobile wallets – 36% Gen X versus 44% millennials penetration.

The way that Gen X settles up with friends and family most closely resembles Gen Z. Gen X is more likely to use cash payments than millennials but also less likely to use cash than boomers or beyond boomers. One difference from Gen Z is Gen X’s greater use of bank transfers. Not surprising since many Gen Z members are unbanked or underbanked.

Only 2% of Gen X members prefer to use checks to repay friends or family, less likely than beyond boomers, at 4%.


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