Maybe they’ve been jolted by seeing themselves and friends face mounting student loan debt. Or maybe it’s because many of them became adults, forced to fend for for themselves, during the aftermath of the Great Recession and financial crisis.
Whatever the reason, millennials are rejecting credit cards.
According to a new Bankrate.com study, 63 percent of individuals aged 18-29 don’t own a credit card. Comparatively, 35 percent of adults 30 and over, nearly half the number of the “millennial” generation, don’t own a credit card.
Jeanine Skowronski, a credit card analyst with Bankrate.com, says this generation is wary of attaining too much debt because it witnessed the struggling job market, the housing collapse, the credit crunch and the student loan burdens of the last few years.
Those millennials that do own credit cards may have troubling reducing balances over a reasonable period of time. Of the 37 percent of millennials that do have at least one card, only 40 percent pay their balances in full each month, compared with the 53 percent of adults 30 or older.
There are external factors influencing the statistics, Skowronski concedes.
An April 2014 Gallup poll found Americans’ reliance on credit cards overall has declined steadily since the Great Recession. Additional, credit card reform — the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure Act of 2009, or CARD Act — has made it harder for anyone under 21 to get a credit card.
Skowronski quotes some millennials in her blog post that provide insight into their debt-adverse attitudes.
“It’s a relief to not deal with paying a credit card bill every month, especially when I’m just beginning to enter the not-so-wonderful world of repaying student loans,” says Jamie Primeau, a 23-year-old resident of Middlesex, New Jersey. “Basically it’s one less thing to worry about.”