Millennials Are Using Credit Cards

June 15, 2016, Written By Bill Hardekopf
Stylish young man showing his cash card

Popular opinion is that Millennials are debt-averse, but a new FICO study shows Millennials actually want and use credit cards.

FICO’s latest research shows that 83% of Millennials (25 to 34 year olds) use credit cards, and 31% carry a balance of $1,000 to $4,999 each month. This rotating debt level is significantly higher than other age groups (only 22% to 23% of consumers in other age groups hold that same debt level). Millennials also have more balances in the $5,000 to $9,999 range.

The study also showed about half of Millennials have at least three cards, and 19% plan to use them for large purchases. 37% also said they are “very likely” to apply for a new card in the next six months, which is nearly double the number of those under 25 (21%) or middle-aged respondents (20%).

77% of all Millennial respondents also said they are “very likely” to keep using credit cards over the next five years.

“Millennials are very interested in obtaining and using credit cards as they remain a convenient mode of payment and source of credit. They are still maximizing their earning potential but also juggling numerous lifestyle costs, such as college loans, car and home ownership, as well as supporting young families,” said Joshua Schnoll, senior director for FICO.

Since 49% of Millennials hold between three and five cards, credit card companies are looking for ways to attract this age group. Millennials said they are most interested in cards that offer:

Respondents aged 18 to 24 are more focused on price. 80% said they were after no annual fee, and 79% said they wanted low interest rates.

Other key findings include:

  • Millennials are concerned about their card security. 56% want credit cards with fraud notifications, and 53% want enhanced security.
  • If Millennials thought their credit card’s mobile experience was “poor,” they would be likely to switch.
  • Personal card controls are important to Millennials. 47%want to be able to control where their card can be used, and 45% want to be able to control the types of purchases that can be made with their cards.
  • Millennials want automated notifications about late payments.
  • 26% of 18 to 24 year olds and 17% of 25 to 34 year olds are only making the minimum payments each month.


The information contained within this article was accurate as of June 15, 2016. For up-to-date
information on any of the terms, cards or offers mentioned above, visit the issuer's website.