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Millennials not so keen about credit cards

People age 29 and younger are 93 percent more likely to have a negative opinion of credit cards than people age 59 and older, according to new research from Wallet Hub.

One completely unsurprising reason for these contrasting points of view is that "younger people are having more trouble managing their credit card debt," Lucia Dunn, Ohio State University economics professor, said in press release. "That would give a person a negative opinion of cards"

Another reason is that millennials fear having too much debt. "Millennials witnessed their parents' struggles during the Great Recession and are already overburdened by student loans," said WalletHub CEO Odysseas Papadimitriou. "So it's no surprise they dislike credit cards."

Additional data points from the survey:

  • Baby boomers are 479 percent more likely than millennials to value credit cards for their convenience relative to cash.
  • Asked whether rates or rewards make the best credit cards, 58 percent of baby boomers chose rates and 51 percent of millennials chose rewards.
  • 8 in 10 baby boomers say their good credit card memories outweigh the bad ones. Just over 6 in 10 millennials agree.

"Younger individuals may be using credit cards as a financing tool (to get things they otherwise could not), while older individuals may be using them as a substitute for cash," said Eesha Sharma, an associate professor of business administration in the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College. "This makes credit cards a very convenient alternative to cash, especially for those who can and do immediately (often automatically) repay their credit card bills."

Current credit card debt is at near-record levels, with U.S. consumers owing more than $1 trillion to credit card companies, according to Federal Reserve data cited by WalletHub.