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Study: Gens Y & Z prefer credit cards over other forms of payments

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Following suit of older generations, younger shoppers want to pay for purchases with credit cards.

Specifically, Gen Z (ages 18-24) and Gen Y (ages 25-34) are comfortable using credit to make purchases, and overwhelmingly prefer credit cards to monthly payment options, according to new data from Vyze, a provider of cloud-based financial technology solutions.

A majority of Millennials (80%) and 71% of Gen Z preferred a credit card with 0% interest for six months over a fixed monthly payment plan. Over half (53% of Gen Y, and 55% of Gen Z) will forgo using cash for a credit card that offers 5% cash back.

Gen Z and Gen Y adults are also fairly comfortable with managing a credit card balance. Nearly seven in 10 younger shoppers reported being at least somewhat comfortable carrying a balance on a credit card, and nearly one in 4 are “very comfortable” with the practice.

One important difference between the two generations: Gen Z could benefit from more information and a helping hand. This generation is the least likely to know their credit score (only 42% have a rough idea vs. 73% of Gen Y). They are also more likely to say they don’t have the financial information they need to make a decision about whether to apply for credit online or in the store (47% vs 26% of Gen Z respondents).

According to the study, retailers and lenders have the opportunity to better serve younger shoppers by providing more information on interest rates and promotions, as well making sure credit options are transparent and easy to use. While more than four in 10 Gen Z shoppers characterize retail credit cards as “helpful” or “builds credit,” the remainder find credit equally “complicated” or “misleading.”

While limited by strict regulations around how to present information, companies can make the credit experience less overwhelming. Two suggestions: simplify the experience and add transparency into offers and promotions.

“Despite the hype about Millennials and Gen Z, it turns out there’s not a radical difference between these groups when it comes to credit,” said Doug Filak, chief marketing officer of Vyze.

“Instead, a relatively traditional view emerges across the board and these consumers are right where we’d expect them to be based on age and experience,” he said. “Our advice to retailers is to adjust their programs without overcorrecting based on a mistaken sense that these shoppers are drastically different, for example by simplifying and clarifying credit applications versus moving away from traditional credit entirely.”

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