Millennials opening credit cards for holiday spending

Their motivation? More than half said they want to score a store discount

Sabrina Karl
Personal Finance Writer
Data whiz and visual storyteller


It’s the most spend-heavy time of the year, and it appears millennials are drawing on new credit cards more than anyone else to get through the budget-stressing holiday season. 

New survey findings from credit reporting agency Experian indicate that, across the general population, 11 percent of Americans expect to open a new credit card for this holiday shopping season. But when parsing out just older millennials, age 25-34, the share reporting they’ll open a new card doubles to 22 percent. 

Experian also dug into millennials’ motivations for opening those new cards. More than half (55 percent) said they’ll do it to score a retail store discount, while 42 percent want to earn cash back rewards on their holiday spending. 

About a third planned to open a new card with a promotional 0 percent APR, presumably to give themselves more time to pay off their big holiday bills, and almost 3 in 10 (29 percent) had their sights set on travel rewards. 

Only 18 percent of older millennials said their plan to open a new card was driven by not having enough cash on hand for the holidays or their other credit cards being maxed out. 

Experian’s annual holiday survey was conducted online from Nov. 18-28 among 1,000 adults age 18 and older. The results were weighted to match U.S. Census demographics and released Dec. 11.

Millennials opening new cards for holidays

See related: Millennial dad holiday shoppers to lead way in paying by smartphoneIt's the thought that counts: Americans plan holiday gift thrift, Poll: 9 out of 10 millennials admit to impulse buys

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Updated: 02-19-2019