6 Out of 10 Millennials Really Need to Get a Credit Card


Are millennials really focused on cash (or debit cards)?

Almost two-thirds of millennials don’t have a credit card, according to a recent study from Bankrate.com, but only 35 percent of adults over 30 shy away from plastic. When the figures were revealed, cheers went up from the Dave Ramsey loyalists who believe credit cards are the financial equivalent to the serpent in the Garden of Eden. But other (perhaps more practical) personal finance experts point to the potential pitfalls of avoiding credit cards.

Can That Really Be True?

When I first read the above stat, I thought it must be grossly inaccurate. As a millennial, I started to poll random friends and only found one who shied away from owning plastic. Then it dawned on me that the study identifies millennials as 18 to 29. This means college-aged millennials are the anchors, dragging down the overall number.

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20 comments on “6 Out of 10 Millennials Really Need to Get a Credit Card
  1. Read your post and agree that we disagree with Dave Ramsey on this one. For us, since we ALWAYS pay off our credit card on time, not using one means we would miss out on all the rewards/points that come with it. It also means that our money stays in our bank longer (even after we’ve spent it) to generate interest.
    Deb @ Saving the Crumbs recently posted…The Benefits of Systematic GivingMy Profile

  2. I heard this stat recently and was pretty surprised. I agree with Deb. I also ALWAYS pay my credit card on time so there’s no reason not to use it for the reasons mentioned above…plus you build your credit. Of course if a millennial is the type who has no self discipline then a credit card might not be a good idea. But maybe they can work on their self discipline rather than shunning credit cards entirely.
    Andrew@LivingRichCheaply recently posted…Are You a Sports Fanatic?My Profile

    • Broke Millennial says:

      Ultimately, knowing yourself is important. If you know that you can’t handle credit cards, then I understand why people refuse them. But I also see it as an easy way to build credit history — but then again, I’ve got that self discipline bit down when it comes to my money. Not so much with everything else though!

  3. The CARD Act of 2009 sought in part to restrict credit card issuers’ ability to prey on consumers under age 21. I suspect the Act’s effects underly the statistics cited by Bankrate.
    Kurt @ Money Counselor recently posted…Our Health Cost SavingsMy Profile

    • Broke Millennial says:

      This is the next sentence once you click over to DailyFinance, “The Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act of 2009 made it more difficult for college students to get credit cards.”

  4. As a college student, I have a credit card which is paid by my parents. I am really spender due to the needs of living in a dormitory. But, after all the sermon my mom did, I kinda learn how to watch my expenses and to manage money. Having someone to advice me the value of money really makes a difference!
    Jayson @ Monster Piggy Bank recently posted…Ways to Sell your Home FasterMy Profile

  5. I don’t think it is wise to hide from financial responsibility in life. In no way should you get in to consumer debt, but instead of avoiding credit cars, how about you learn personal responsibility. You will always be faced with purchases your whole life. The earlier you learn to control that feeling the better life will be. If you can’t then yes, stay away, but learn to take control.
    Lance @ Healthy Wealthy Income recently posted…Can You Manage Your Money if You Can’t Manage Yourself?My Profile

  6. Myles Money says:

    While I understand that credit cards can be used to make your credit score look better, is there not a danger for younger people to abuse its power and quickly rack up debt without realising it? It’s said that people don’t associate using a credit card with ‘spending money’, so isn’t that to say that credit cards themselves may promote people to spend without *thinking* about the purchase?
    Myles Money recently posted…Sugar Rush | #FrugalFridayMy Profile

  7. Amos says:

    I tend to disagree with Dave at some point. When you are in college, sometimes its hard to survive without having a credit card to depend on.
    Amos recently posted…The Choice Privileges® Visa® Card ReviewMy Profile

  8. Alexis says:

    Sometimes I wish I didn’t need a credit card. I don’t like knowing that there is extra money that can be spent, even though I have the control not to spend.

  9. I never had a credit card in college, but probably should have gotten one — I graduated with zero credit history. A newborn baby and I probably looked the same on paper when it came to credit. Finally got my first credit card six months ago—I pay down the balance every month, don’t spend more than I can afford, and the first time I actually got my hands on the cash rewards…well, that was pretty sweet!
    Molly @ FeeHacks recently posted…We Joined Our Finances — When Should You?My Profile

  10. Steve says:

    I really don’t understand why people don’t use credit cards with the amount of monetary rewards they provide. You get no cash back using cash so why would you bother ever using anything other than a credit card with cash back rewards?

    If the argument is that it is too tempting to use credit, well that’s just a lazy way of saying I can’t do that but I can somehow control spending cash. Makes no sense!
    Steve recently posted…Working Location IndependentMy Profile

  11. Ciel Belle says:

    There are some perks to having the credit card especially with airline miles, but I wish I knew or had discipline when I first got them so I don’t have to pay off a huge amount of debt
    Ciel Belle recently posted…September 2014 Month-End RecapMy Profile

  12. I also am not a fan of credit cards. I tend to over think my shopping when I know that I am going to pay with actual cash rather than a plastic.
    How to Save Money recently posted…Saving Money when Buying HoneyMy Profile

    • Broke Millennial says:

      It’s good to know that about yourself. I needed on to establish and build credit history, otherwise I never could have rented an apartment in NYC three weeks after I graduated college. If you need to establish credit, you could always get a card and set it up to pay one small monthly bill (ie: Netflix) and then lock the card away so you aren’t carrying it around and tempted to spend on it.

  13. Personally, I’d rather not. Too risky.
    Sayid Mansour recently posted…immunitymma.com – The Immunity CourseMy Profile

    • Broke Millennial says:

      If you feel you have no self-control (or too unorganized to pay bills on time), then it’s better not to get one.

  14. Ray Hyson says:

    I don’t know if I should even comment, since I’m not a millennial (baby boomer).

    We let go of our credit cards and began paying with cash a few years ago. The envelope system has served us well.

    The perks weren’t worth it to us. We simply don’t like debt.

    P.S. We paid off our home in 2012, so we’re completely debt-free.
    Ray Hyson recently posted…3 Qualities You Need to be Consistently SuccessfulMy Profile

    • Broke Millennial says:

      I’ve never been in debt from my credit cards because I only charge what I can afford to pay off in full each month. But not everyone has that sense of control, so it’s important to know yourself before you get a credit card.

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