Infographic: Credit card love from older millennials

When it comes to characterizing millennial credit card behavior, it appears to make a big difference which millennials you’re talking about.

At first blush, survey findings recently released by FICO show that millennials (defined as those age 18-34) use credit cards less often than Generation X and baby boomer Americans, are less likely than the older generations to hold three or more cards, and profess a lower likelihood of using credit cards over the next five years.

But the picture is turned on its head when millennials are bisected into two groups: older millennials, age 25-34, who include many working individuals; and younger millennials, age 18-24, who include a larger proportion of students. Indeed, the youngest millennials are still seniors in high school, while the oldest millennials may have graduated college a dozen years ago and may have a spouse, children and their own home.

Splitting the findings into these two groups illuminates how much can change as this generation ages. In the new parsing, older millennials become the most likely group to use credit cards, at 83 percent, versus the runner-up boomers at 78 percent.

The 25-34-year-olds are also more likely than both older generations to hold three or more cards, at 50 percent. This is more than double the 24 percent of young millennials who indicated they had at least three cards.

The trend continues with those who indicated they will continue to use cards over the next five years and those that expect to apply for a new card within six months. In both cases, the incidence rate jumps substantially from young to older millennials, and puts the older group significantly ahead of both Generation X and baby boomer Americans.

FICO’s findings come from its online survey of about 1,000 American consumers age 18 and older. Conducted in October and November 2015, the data was weighted by age and region to reflect U.S. census demographics and was released June 9.


See related: Millennials will switch to credit cards over time, More infographics

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Updated: 03-22-2019