Gen Z getting a head start using credit cards

Almost a fifth of teens 13-17 are authorized users on an adult's card

Sabrina Karl
Personal Finance Writer
Data whiz and visual storyteller


Most of Generation Z may still be too young to apply for their own credit cards, but according to a survey by credit reporting agency TransUnion, many of them are getting a head start on building a credit history.

About a fifth of teenagers ages 13-17 (19 percent) hold a credit card as an authorized user on a parent’s or guardian’s account. Even more Gen Zers are getting accustomed to using plastic, with 40 percent having their own debit card.

Of teenagers on a credit card account, almost half (47 percent) report using the card weekly, with 14 percent saying they use it daily.

A majority of the teens on a credit card account were given access when they were 14 or younger, at 54 percent. But among them, 10 percent became authorized users before they turned 13.

The TransUnion survey was conducted by research firm Ipsos in May 2017, with findings released in June 2017 in the report, Generation Z’s Financial Report Card. More than 1,000 U.S. teenagers between ages 13-17 were surveyed, with the results calibrated to match the demographics of the American population.

Generation Z getting head start with credit cards


See related: More parents giving their kids credit cards, Generation Z embraces credit, rejects debit, Generation Z leads in mobile payments, More infographics

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Updated: 03-26-2019