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TD Bank's Annual Consumer Spending Index Reveals Credit Knowledge Gap Exists Among Millennials

CHERRY HILL, N.J., March 12, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Though 82 percent of millennials believe society will eventually become cashless, TD Bank's Consumer Spending Index revealed that they're lacking when it comes to building and maintaining healthy credit habits. As the generation least likely to carry cash, according to the survey, this begs the question of whether millennials are armed with the proper tools to be responsible card holders.

TD Bank's 2019 Consumer Spending Index revealed that Millennials are need some guidance when it comes to building and maintaining healthy credit habits.

The Reality: Most millennials' credit habits aren't healthy

TD's survey revealed some concerning credit habits of millennials, including:

  • Twenty-three percent of millennials don't have a credit card, and they're the generation most likely to prefer cash (26 percent) while traveling
  • Half of millennials use between 31-90 percent of their credit limit, surpassing the recommended utilization rate of 30 percent or less
  • Nearly one-third (32 percent) of millennials don't pay their cards off in full each month, which can damage credit health and be costly in the long run, especially in a rising rate environment
  • A quarter of millennials do not know their credit score, which can be a setback when applying for credit cards or loans, getting approved for a mortgage, buying a car, or making other major purchases

"The data is a bit concerning – it shows that a significant knowledge gap exists for millennials when it comes to credit, especially compared to prior generations," says Mike Kinane, Head of US Bankcard at TD Bank. "We're relying less and less on cash, and while credit cards may not be a millennial's payment method of choice, it's still critical that they develop financial knowledge and habits to properly position themselves for sound credit health down the road."

The Outcome: Millennials spend more than their older counterparts, but don't use the rewards they earn

Despite being more likely than other generations to pay for a group outing in order to earn rewards, thirty percent of millennials have let their credit card rewards expire (more than Gen-X at 14 percent and Baby Boomers at 9 percent). This data point is surprising, given Millennials were the generation most likely to carry a balance on their credit card.

Additionally, millennials spent $2,447 annually on dining, more than Gen-X ($1,923) and Baby Boomers ($1,486). If they are using a card with 2 percent cash back on dining, they could be earning nearly $50 in rewards each year.  That could pay for over two weeks of coffee1, or almost four months of a Netflix subscription.

The Long-Run: Millennials are leading the way in teaching their kids good credit habits

Millennials were the generation most willing to help their children establish credit through a secured card (45 percent) or help with student loans (40 percent).

That said, more than half (55 percent) of respondents overall say they are not willing to help their children establish credit. This is particularly true for older generations, with 70 percent of Baby Boomers saying that they are not helping their children establish credit.

"Perhaps born out of growing up during the financial crisis and feeling the impact of student loans, millennials are driven to set their kids up for financial success and teach them good financial habits," said Kinane. "Through education and options like secured cards, younger generations can learn the responsibilities of having a credit card and start establishing good credit at a young age. It's also worth noting that length of credit history is a significant factor in credit scores."

1 Based on the average cost of a cup of coffee in New York being $3.12, per a 2018 report by UBS.

Survey Methodology

MARU/Matchbox conducted an online survey for the first wave of this study between March 22 and March 28, 2017 and interviewed 1002 consumers. A second wave of this study was conducted between August 20 and August 30, 2018 using the Springboard America panel to speak with 1,000 consumers. Springboard America is one of the leading online market research communities in the US, giving Americans the opportunity to participate in surveys and discussions that influence brands, products and services used every day. Both waves had consumers representative of the national population. A random national sample of this size has a margin of error of +/-3.1%. The data has been weighted by age, gender and region to reflect the national population.

About MARU/Matchbox

MARU/Matchbox is a professional services firm dedicated to improving its clients' business outcomes. It delivers its services through teams of sector-specific research consultants specializing in the use of Insight Community and Voice of Market technology.

About TD Bank, America's Most Convenient Bank®

TD Bank, America's Most Convenient Bank, is one of the 10 largest banks in the U.S., providing more than 9 million customers with a full range of retail, small business and commercial banking products and services at more than 1,200 convenient locations throughout the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, Metro D.C., the Carolinas and Florida. In addition, TD Bank and its subsidiaries offer customized private banking and wealth management services through TD Wealth®, and vehicle financing and dealer commercial services through TD Auto Finance. TD Bank is headquartered in Cherry Hill, N.J. To learn more, visit www.tdbank.com. Find TD Bank on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TDBank and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/TDBank_US.

TD Bank, America's Most Convenient Bank, is a member of TD Bank Group and a subsidiary of The Toronto-Dominion Bank of Toronto, Canada, a top 10 financial services company in North America. The Toronto-Dominion Bank trades on the New York and Toronto stock exchanges under the ticker symbol "TD". To learn more, visit www.td.com.

America's Most Convenient Bank. (PRNewsFoto/TD Bank)
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