Question: What Percentage of Millenials Have Never Had A Credit Card?

Apr 15, 2015
Credit Scores, Activity, Question of the Day, Research, Credit Cards, Debit Cards, Current Events

Answer:  36%

From USA Today:

According to, 36% of Americans between the ages of 18 and 29 have never had a credit card.

As for the reasons why:

  • Federal reform efforts:  “That may be due in part to a 2009 law that whittled away the near-ubiquitous offers of credit to college students, says Matt Schulz, senior industry analyst at  Those reforms stated that those under age 21 had to prove their income or get parental permission in order to obtain a credit card.
  • Great Recession:  “The Great Recession also may have left some younger consumers reluctant to rack up charges.”
  • Cautious nature (perhaps related to Great Recession):  “Cash has always been king for Millennials, and they’re often extremely reluctant to invest or otherwise leverage their precious savings,” says Amy Hubble, a financial planner based in Oklahoma City. “We grew up in a world where we were always on the defensive when it came to strangers, cyber-scams, or ‘too good to be true’ sales pitches, so often the eight credit card offers you receive in the mail every day have begun to fall into that category of ‘junk to be ignored.”


This question provides a great opportunity to capture your students’ attitudes toward credit cards, which are likely influenced by their parents.  This stat probably has led to FICO seeking new ways to measure creditworthiness of borrowers as discussed in a recent post, since credit cards are often the first credit product used by consumers.

We have a great activity to engage students and help them learn about the pros/cons of credit cards called Debate:  Should College Students Get Credit Cards? 

About the Author

Tim Ranzetta

Tim's saving habits started at seven when a neighbor with a broken hip gave him a dog walking job. Her recovery, which took almost a year, resulted in Tim getting to know the bank tellers quite well (and accumulating a savings account balance of over $300!). His recent entrepreneurial adventures have included driving a shredding truck, analyzing executive compensation packages for Fortune 500 companies and helping families make better college financing decisions. After volunteering in 2010 to create and teach a personal finance program at Eastside College Prep in East Palo Alto, Tim saw firsthand the impact of an engaging and activity-based curriculum, which inspired him to start a new non-profit, Next Gen Personal Finance.

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