Young Adults Not Eager To Take On Piles Of Credit Card Debt For Some Reason

Everyone has that one relative who was an adult during the Great Depression and hid boxes of cash all over the house because they didn’t trust banks. Someday, your own descendants might share tales of weird old Aunt Mykayla, who entered the workforce during the Great Recession and refused to get credit cards or even buy a car.

A growing number of young people have exactly zero credit cards. There are a few reasons for this, and the recession is only one of them. According to research from the Fair Isaac Corporation (the people behind the FICO credit score) 16% of Americans ages 18-29 had no credit cards in the fall of 2012, compared to 12% at the same point in 2009. The federal CARD Act raised the minimum age for getting a credit card to 21, eliminating the rite of passage that was signing up for too many credit cards during one’s freshman year of college in return for free Frisbees and t-shirts. That accounts for much of the decrease…but doesn’t tell the whole story.

no credit cards graph

Check out this graph, though: people are shedding credit cards across the board. For some people, the card-free lifestyle is because the recession wrecked their credit rating. For many youngsters, debit cards simply became a habit: easy, accepted everywhere, not a massive debt trap.

This isn’t an ideal solution. The problem with not having any lines of consumer credit in your young adult years is that when you go to buy a house or car later in life when (if?) you have an actual career, having no credit history will mean that you’ll get a less favorable interest rate…or no loan at all.

The Young and the Cardless [FICO Banking Analytics Blog] (via Bucks)