Question: What Percentage of Millenials Have Never Had A Credit Card?

Answer:  36%

From USA Today:

According to, 36% of Americans between the ages of 18 and 29 have never had a credit card.

As for the reasons why:

  • Federal reform efforts:  “That may be due in part to a 2009 law that whittled away the near-ubiquitous offers of credit to college students, says Matt Schulz, senior industry analyst at  Those reforms stated that those under age 21 had to prove their income or get parental permission in order to obtain a credit card.
  • Great Recession:  “The Great Recession also may have left some younger consumers reluctant to rack up charges.”
  • Cautious nature (perhaps related to Great Recession):  “Cash has always been king for Millennials, and they’re often extremely reluctant to invest or otherwise leverage their precious savings,” says Amy Hubble, a financial planner based in Oklahoma City. “We grew up in a world where we were always on the defensive when it came to strangers, cyber-scams, or ‘too good to be true’ sales pitches, so often the eight credit card offers you receive in the mail every day have begun to fall into that category of ‘junk to be ignored.”


This question provides a great opportunity to capture your students’ attitudes toward credit cards, which are likely influenced by their parents.  This stat probably has led to FICO seeking new ways to measure creditworthiness of borrowers as discussed in a recent post, since credit cards are often the first credit product used by consumers.

We have a great activity to engage students and help them learn about the pros/cons of credit cards called Debate:  Should College Students Get Credit Cards?