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Millennials cautious on credit

News, 23 August 2015

CHARLOTTE, NC: Not only are US Millennials less likely to own a credit card than older generations, those that do tend to use them more responsibly according to a new survey.

LendingTree, the online loan marketplace, surveyed 3,170 Americans to gain insight into credit card behaviours, sentiments and trends and found that younger generations appeared to be less reliant on credit cards than previous generations.

Millennials had the lowest levels of credit card ownership with 61% of this group owning at least one credit card.

Ownership rates increased the older consumers got, with 79% of Gen X respondents possessing at least one card, rising to 89% among Baby Boomers and 97% among the Silent Generation born between 1925 and 1945.

Millennials' low ownership rates reflected in part a cautious approach to debt: "Don't need one. Don't spend what you don't have," was the attitude of a quarter of that age group. And just 29% of them said that credit cards were "pretty much required today".

Not only do Millennials feel they do not need credit cards, but among those that still use cards, they were better at paying off their balance in full each month when compared to both Gen Xers and Baby Boomers.

Roughly 54% percent of Millennials paid their balance in full each month with Baby Boomers were close behind on 53%.

Only 42% of Gen X paid their balance in full each month. Additionally, Gen Xers had the highest percentage of respondents only paying the minimum balance.

The Silent Generation were most responsible in this regard, with 72% paying outstanding balances in full each month.

"The millennial generation seems to be more averse to debt as it relates to credit cards, which could be attributed to lasting scars from the financial crisis of 2007-08," said Doug Lebda, founder and CEO of LendingTree.

"Older Americans are more reliant on credit cards to maintain their monthly expenses and cash flows when compared to younger generations," he added. "It will be interesting to see how this trend develops with the emergence and adoption of new payment methods."

Data sourced from PR Newswire; additional content by Warc staff