In 2014, Western Union made a surprising discovery when surveying millennials about their financial habits: More than 20 percent of them had never written a check.

This may seem unusual to those of us from older generations. After all, many of us have used checks as our primary way of paying the mortgage and other monthly bills.

But millennials--that group of people born between the 1980s and early 2000s--have earned the nickname the “unbanked generation” for a reason. Thanks to the increasingly ubiquitous nature of smartphones and payment apps, young people are not just eschewing checks, but many other functions associated with...

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About the Author:

Greg Ryan is director of financial aid at Fullerton College in Fullerton, Calif.