Research and Statistics

Millennial mobile payment users display costly card habits


Millennial mobile payment users have more assets, higher incomes and higher levels of education than non-users, but they’re also more likely to pay only the minimum on their cards and incur late fees, new research shows.

The content on this page is accurate as of the posting date; however, some of our partner offers may have expired. Please review our list of best credit cards, or use our CardMatch™ tool to find cards matched to your needs. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page.

Millennials who regularly use mobile payment apps are more likely to have bank accounts, a credit card and a retirement account, and are also more likely to hold most forms of debt, from auto loans to student loans to home equity loans.

But while these 18-34-year-old Americans are well familiar with using their smartphones for financial purposes, research shows it doesn’t make them any better at managing their accounts. In fact, they handle their credit card accounts worse than non-users.

The findings were presented recently by Annamaria Lusardi of the Global Financial Literacy Excellence Center at the George Washington University School of Business. GFLEC’s research shows even though millennial mobile payment users have more assets, higher incomes and higher levels of education than non-users, they exhibit more costly card behaviors.

Specifically, mobile payment users were more likely to have paid only the minimum payment on their card at least once in the previous 12 months (45 percent vs. 40 percent), and more often incurred a late fee (26 percent vs. 16 percent for non-users).

See related: Millennials go mobile to manage their money, and to check their credit scores

Exceeding their credit limit and accessing a card account for cash advances were also much more prevalent among mobile payment users, ranging from 21 to 25 percent vs. just 6 to 7 percent for non-users.

Overall, almost 6 in 10 millennial mobile payment users (58 percent) reported at least one of these expensive card behaviors in the previous year, while only 45 percent of non-users said the same.

Originally published as a report in April 2018, GFLEC’s study was presented Nov. 6 at the 6th Annual Meeting of the International Federation of Financial Museums in Brussels, Belgium.

Editorial Disclaimer

The editorial content on this page is based solely on the objective assessment of our writers and is not driven by advertising dollars. It has not been provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. However, we may receive compensation when you click on links to products from our partners.

What’s up next?

In Research and Statistics

Credit card offers no longer flooding your mailbox? Here’s why

As issuers move to cheaper, smarter alternatives to direct mail, you still have options to get access to the best credit card offers.

See more stories
Credit Card Rate Report
Cash Back

Questions or comments?

Contact us

Editorial corrections policies

Learn more