5 Reasons Millennials Prefer Debit Cards (They May Surprise You)

Deciding between primarily using a debit card or a credit card has never been an easy choice. There is always a wide variety of views favoring one or the other of these two. Nonetheless, the credit card industry has continued to grow over the years.

However, when it comes to Millennials, those born between the years 1981 and 1996, an interesting pattern is emerging which seems to strongly favor debit cards over credit cards. This gravitation back to debit cards could be due to a variety of factors.


The economy and financial burdens that Millennials have grown up with have led them to make different financial choices than their parents did. Below, we will look at the different factors that lead Millennials to choose debit cards over credit cards. Continue reading to learn more.

Millennials have different spending habits than other generations
Image source: doyouremember.com

1. The Pressure of Student Debt

A lot of Millennials are in significant debt from their student loans. Many of them view credit cards as yet another source of debt that is avoidable. By not having credit cards at all, they seem to be under the impression that they can avoid incurring additional debt. This is especially important when they already have large debts (student loans) to repay.

2. Learning From Previous Generations

Many Millennials have seen firsthand the kind of hardships that previous generations have faced when it came to credit card debt. Many of them took years to come out of basic credit card debt, because they made the same old mistakes of spending more than their income, making only minimum repayments, and so on.


Having seen the problems that such behavior brings along, a lot of Millennials would much rather forgo credit cards altogether and remain disciplined in their finances. They are choosing to make purchases wisely, only using the money they have already earned.

3. Financial Consciousness and Discipline

Previous generations were a lot less informed when it came to overall financial consciousness and discipline. Today’s Millennials are different, with financial prudence practically drilled into them at every stage.

A basic aspect being emphasized to Millennials is to remain disciplined as far as spending goes. Purchases, for instance, should be guided by what one really needs, not simply based on what one wants. Further, to the maximum extent possible, purchases should always be guided by the ability to pay at that very moment, not by the speculative ability to repay at a later date and time.


With thoughts like these being drilled into the consciousness of Millennials, it is really not a surprise then that when it comes to the debit vs credit cards debate, the former seems to be in favor.

4. Digital Payments

Digital payments have surged in recent times. This is especially true in societies like China, where payments through immensely popular multi-purpose messaging apps like WeChat clearly dominate the overall financial landscape, especially among the young.

This trend is being seen in many other societies around the world as well. Platforms like PayPal and Google Pay are making their presence felt in a big way. Many countries have their own localized, homegrown digital payment platforms which have gained huge traction in their societies.

These digital payment modes offer immense convenience to Millennials as far as sending and receiving payments are concerned. At the same time, these payments are, in the majority of cases, made directly from bank accounts. With credit frequently being out of the picture in the case of digital payments, this is yet another reason contributing to an overall aversion for credit cards as a whole among Millennials.

5. One Less Account to Worry About

Many Millennials find themselves in situations where they already have a lot to think about. They do not want to burden themselves with additional stressors, say in the form of credit card payment due dates, late fees, interest charges, and so on.

Debit cards relieve Millennials of all this stress and tension. They know that they are spending straight from their bank account; they are just spending money that they already have. With debit cards, they don’t have to worry about overspending or juggling multiple accounts.


When it comes to making a choice between debit cards and credit cards, Millennials are clearly preferring the former. For the most part, peace of mind is proving to be a major driving factor for them in this preference.

Whether this trend holds in the long run as well is something we will all be eagerly looking forward to seeing!