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As they reach adulthood, Gen Z isn't shying away from credit cards, loans and other debt

Rebekah Tuchscherer

Welcome to financial adulthood, Generation Z.

The number of credit-eligible Gen Zers carrying a credit card balance — meaning they have an active credit card — increased 41% year over year to 7.75 million in the second quarter, according to a new report from TransUnion.

Comparatively, the number of millennials and Gen Xers carrying a credit card increased only 5% to 38.29 million and 3% to 38.27 million, respectively.

A growing portion of Gen Z — defined as those born after 1995 — took on some kind of debt during the first half of 2019, according to the report released last week.

The generation's growth in credit usage is outpacing older cohorts, largely because increasing numbers of Gen Zers are becoming old enough to take on mortgages, auto loan, personal loan and credit card debt for the first time.

So far, they are handling their new debt as well as the next two older generations, Kristen Bataillon, senior manager of research and consulting at TransUnion, told USA TODAY. 

"Card delinquencies for Gen Z are roughly in line with millennials and Gen Xers," Bataillon said.

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Gen Zers with a mortgage jumped 112%, but from a very low level, increasing to 319,000 from 150,000. The number of Gen Zers taking out auto or personal loans increased about 40% each, according to the report.

Credit cards are the most popular credit product among Gen Zers, with 55% carrying a balance. However, the generation constitutes only about 5% of all the U.S. credit cardholders.

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About 31.5 million Gen Zers are currently credit-eligible, or 18 and older. But that number is expected to rise to 44.5 million by 2022, according to TransUnion.

“The rapid growth in Gen Z credit activity is occurring despite many of these individuals having grown up during the Great Recession,” Matt Komos, vice president of research and consulting at TransUnion said in a statement. “As we see more members of this group come of age, we naturally expect continued growth in credit activity by Gen Z."

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Credit cards report: Gen Z is taking on more debt