The eldest of Generation Z are now between the ages of 18 and 24. As they have become adults, finances have become more of a reality and concern. With new innovations constantly being introduced, Gen Z has begun exploring different platforms and options for saving, investing and making transactions. Still, credit cards remain a popular payment option that Generation Z is learning to embrace. While credit cards offer benefits like rewards, convenience and a level of security not guaranteed with other payment options, they also mean monthly payments, interest rates and credit scores – which could be an entirely new undertaking for young adults just learning to become financially independent from their parents. This presents the opportunity for financial institutions to educate Gen Z on more responsible and frequent credit card use.
Who Is Influencing Generation Z to Get Credit Cards
Just over a decade ago, college freshmen walking onto a campus would be greeted by tables of FIs offering credit cards. With no co-sign necessary, these inexperienced young adults were handed credit cards, not knowing the effects of using them irresponsibly. This led to the Credit Card Act of 2009, which limits FIs’ ability to market to young adults under the age of 21. Now, credit cards issued to young adults must be guaranteed by a co-signer over 21 years-old, allowing parents to be more involved in the process and giving Gen Z a better opportunity to learn to use credit responsibly and start building a positive credit history. This also requires financial institutions’ focuses to shift from selling the benefits of credit cards to young adults to selling the benefits to parents. So credit unions must ask, what do parents want for their children in a credit card? My parents, for instance, are most interested in low interest rates – just in case I were to ever fall behind. But every parent has different perspectives and preferences, which will possibly shape how their children treat this payment option.
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