Young adults, especially the 18–24 year olds, who tend to favor debit cards, are still less likely than older adults to use credit cards, but this is changing, particularly due to the shift toward online and mobile shopping.
Nearly all consumers shop online and e-commerce and m-commerce are gaining a larger share of payment transactions, credit card use is growing, especially among young adults.
Overall, U.S. consumers today prefer to use a credit card as a debit card in stores, far more prefer to use credit cards at online retailers than debit cards, or any other payment form for that matter. Security issues as well as better rewards for credit card use are the primary reasons they indicate for preferring to use credit cards online.
The most recent Insight Summary Report from Mercator Advisory Group’s biannual CustomerMonitor Survey Series, titled U.S. Consumers and Credit: Young Adults Return to Credit Card Use, reveals that 63% of U.S. consumers own general purpose network-branded credit cards, up from 61% who did in 2015. Moreover, young adults, especially the 25–34 year olds, are now, for the first time since we started tracking credit card use in 2009, more likely than average to use general purpose credit cards (65% vs. 63% average), and that figure is rising fast, up from 59% in 2015 and 48% in 2013.
The latest report from Mercator Advisory Group’s Primary Data Service, shows that a surprisingly high percentage of consumers, including 4 in 5 people who pay by mobile phone, have shopped for a new credit card within the past 12 months. Interestingly, the method consumers find most valuable for researching new credit cards is in the branch of their primary financial institution, even among mobile payers.
Highlights of the report include:
Year-over-year trending of penetration of credit cards in the U.S. market, cardholder behavior, and changes to features, credit limits, APRs, applications, and turn-downs
Usage and interest in EMV chip cards by type and user experience in the U.S. and abroad
Usage of co-branded credit cards by type
Shifts in the channels that consumers used most recently to apply for general purpose and store credit cards
General purpose reward card participation, type of rewards available, most valuable reward type
Interest in applying for new credit cards and most valuable methods of shopping
Consumer perception and expected reaction to merchant policies and practices restricting credit card use or steering customers to other payment forms
Interest in mobile-based account controls for use by cardholders to limit fraud on their accounts by card type
Typical payment habits and use of automatic payments
Usage of peer-to-peer lenders by brand and reasons for use
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