Recent attention has been paid to lower use of credit card by millennials but the snapshot is worse than the movie, says one analyst.
A survey commissioned by Bankrate and compiled by Princeton Survey Research Associates International shows that more than 60 percent of millennials do not own a credit card. Conversely, 70 percent of people over 30 years old do have at least one credit card. Are card brands panicking, or are their recent moves toward ACH (PayPal/Visa, Mastercard/VocaLink, clearXchange and both brands) a response by diversifying?
Tiffani Montez, a senior analyst with Aite Group, says with age and blooming careers and families today’s non-card holders will become card holders.
“While millennial credit card ownership is lower compared to the other generations, by 2018, Aite Group is forecasting that nearly six in 10 will have a credit card, and that the average number of cards owned by these cardholders will be 1.8 cards per person,” says Montez. “Despite their current reliance on debit cards as their payment method of choice, they will increasingly turn to credit cards in order to reap the benefits of rewards as their lifestyles and life stages change over the next few years.”
She says that doesn’t mean skies are clear for the brands, however.
“Today’s cardholders, in particular the young consumers who represent the best growth opportunities, are increasingly paying off their balances in full,” says Montez. “And, as consumers improve their financial management skills, helping to drive down ancillary fees, like balance transfer, cash advance, and debt suspension, profiting from new cardholders will be a challenge for many credit card issuers.
“That being said, in general, credit card issuers are very focused on better engaging with millennials, recognizing there’s both opportunity and risk inherent in this group, the younger millennials in particular.”