Money Matters: Young adults cut out credit cards

Reported by: Brittany Price
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Updated: 7/17/2013 10:39 am
About 16 percent of consumers ages 18 to 29 didn't have a single credit card by the end of 2012.

That's up from eight percent in 2007, according to credit score provider FICO. 

"I don't use credit cards because I don't want to go in debt," said one 22-year-old. 

"I don't use it because I don't need a credit card. I view a credit card as something I'd only use if i needed to buy something and make payments on over the course of time," said another young adult.  

Many young adults are shying away from charging it after watching consequences from older generations. 

"Some of them have seen what their parents have gone through in the recession," said Michael Byers, a Financial Adviser.  
"Seeing their parents tighten their belts, and maybe seeing some of the help their parents used to give them get cut off, all of sudden they're thinking 'these things aren't as good as they used to be.'" 

Byers said one factor: tighter restrictions to qualify for credit. Also, there more options to manage cash flow and spending like pre-paid debit cards. 

"If it's there, you get to spend it. If it's not, you don't get to spend it so you're not going into debt," Byers said. 

"I don't use a credit card. I just use my debit card. When I'm broke I just don't spend any money," said one 25-year-old.  

However, some 20-somethings are still finding value in plastic credit. 

"I do use credit cards, all the time. I'm always afraid that if my wallet gets stolen my cash will get stolen. It's much easier to just cancel the credit card than figure out whoever took my wallet," said one 21-year-old.  

Some young adults also worry that borrowing for big purchases will be impossible with no credit-card history. 

However, Byers said there are ways to get approved credit-card free. 

"Maybe being a co-borrower on a parent's car. Instead of paying the car off in cash to begin with, you go in and you do a loan with the understanding that you have the money to pay it off but you wait six to twelve months.
Then, you write a check and pay the car off after that time frame. Boom, now you have a positive reflection on your credit report," Byers said. 

Also, many lenders are underwriting. They are looking at other financial documents like pay-stubs and W2 forms. 

"A lot of people are shying away from getting credit and building up their credit, so when they buy a house they don't have a credit score at all.  When you have regular underwriting like that you're able to get a house without the debt of a credit card or car loans," Byers said.  

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