Half of new credit accounts are opened online

Millennials lead in starting, completing application by smartphones

Sabrina Karl
Personal Finance Writer
Data whiz and visual storyteller

Opening credit card accounts online, via a desktop computer or laptop, is the way a majority of Americans secure that new card, according to new research by Jumio. But it’s not of course the only way, and the generation in which you were born might impact the method you prefer. 

Across all consumers who opened a new credit card account in the last 12 months, half (50 percent) completed the entire process online, 11 percent opened it via mobile app, and 15 percent opened it within a branch. But a breakdown of channels by generation shows some marked differences.

Millennials decisively lead in opening accounts with their smartphone, with 17 percent of millennials who opened a card in the last year saying they completed the full process via mobile. That’s more than twice the share of Generation X consumers, at 8 percent, and four times that of baby boomers, at a just 4 percent. 

But Generation X leads the way in online account openings, with 57 percent indicating they opened their account using their desktop computer or laptop. The percentage of millennials opening a card online was significantly lower, at just 43 percent. 

Differentiation among generations for in-branch account opening was slight. While one might expect millennials to less frequently enter bank branches, about the same proportion of millennials as baby boomers (15 percent and 16 percent, respectively) said they completed the processing of their new card application in person with a teller. 

As for phoned and mailed-in applications, a solid handful of baby boomers still use these traditional methods, with a combined 19 percent saying they had completed the card-opening process by phone or mail. Among Generation X, the share dropped to 8 percent, and then lower still to just 2 percent of millennials. 

Online mobile payments firm Jumio commissioned Javelin Strategy & Research to administer its survey to 2,000 digital banking customers in late 2017, with results released March 6. 

Half of all credit card accounts are opened online

See related: 10 things NOT to do when you apply for a credit card, How many credit cards is too many?, More infographics

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Updated: 03-26-2019