44% of Millennials Have Had Some Trouble With Credit Card Payments

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According to a recent survey sponsored by Discover Financial Services (NYSE: DFS), some 96% of millennials between the ages of 18 and 32 who have credit cards consider themselves to be financially responsible. That total probably includes most of the 44% who have missed a payment, paid a late fee, busted their credit limit or had to work out a payment plan with their credit card issuers. And we thought millennials understood irony.

The survey also included millennials who did not have credit cards. Among this group, some 80% considered themselves financially responsible, presumably because they reckon that they cannot handle having a credit card, although the survey did not ask that. Only about one in four non-cardholders knew their approximate credit score, and only about one in five had checked their credit reports or credits scores in the past six months.

According to the survey, 37% of millennial cardholders said they learned to manage credit responsibly by using credit cards. A Discover executive noted, “It is important that millennials be aware of their credit information because it influences how lenders, auto dealers and others evaluate them.”

And millennials are actively applying for credit. Some 63% of those surveyed have two or more credit cards. Among the youngest portion (18 to 22 years old) of those surveyed, 99% know what a credit score is and 50% said that having a credit card made them more financially responsible.

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Those same young cardholders said that restaurants and dining out were the top reason (63%) for having a credit card. Other top reasons for having a card:

  • Daily purchases (coffee, snacks, etc.), 62%
  • Gas/Transportation, 58%
  • Entertainment (movies, concerts), 50%
  • Major item purchases (TVs, electronics, furniture), 48%
  • Emergencies, 47%
  • Monthly bills, 40%
  • Personal appearance (manicures, haircuts, spa), 31%
  • Major life expenses (tuition, wedding), 26