Credit Card Bureau Data: Deep Dives into Millenials and Gen-Z

by Brian Riley 0

Businessman explaining loan

It is not a surprise that Generation-Z, the population group born after 1992, has the lowest Vantage Score, averaged at 634, versus the Silent Generation (born before 1946), who could be their grandparents which carries a 729 average.  The CARD Act, which curtailed college credit card lending has much to do with the low starting point.

Experian’s annual report on credit scores provides a deep dive into their massive data files.

  • On average, Americans’ credit card debt jumped 2.7% during the past year — from $6,188 to $6,354.

  • Some demographics saw much sharper rises, however. Gen X’rs balances are up 5.1%, from $7,372 to $7,750. Millennials’ plastic debt climbed fully 10.8% from $3,894 to $4,315. On the other hand, card debt among the Boomers and the Silents stayed almost flat.

  • According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, “consumers opened around 110 million new credit card accounts in 2016, which is roughly 50% higher than 2010 and a higher total than in any single year since 2007.”

However, the bridge between Gen-Z and their parents (or grandparents) continue:

  • Americans over 60 are the fastest-growing segment of student loan borrowers, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. From 2005 to 2015, their average debt load doubled, from $12,100 to $23,500.

The shift to higher  debt by older Americans is not particularly healthy; the best place for the industry to see growth is in the front end which Gen-Z, not the back-end, where the only thing holding off retirement might be paying off debt.

Overview by Brian Riley, Director, Credit Advisory Service at Mercator Advisory Group

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