Analyzing Credit Card Usage and Economic Factors

Analyzing Credit Card Usage and Economic Factors

Credit cards have, for a long time, been the primary method for making payments. The oldest generations today still use credit cards as their primary payment method. According to surveys, over 70% of Golden Agers default to credit cards, nearly 50% of Baby Boomers use credit cards as their primary payment method, and Gen Xers are not far behind. The number significantly drops for Millennials and Gen Zers.

In this article, we would like to explore the factors contributing to increased or decreased credit card usage.

Other Payment Options

The biggest factor influencing credit card usage is the availability of other payment methods. Up until recently, cash or credit were the only options available. And considering credit cards are a lot more convenient, it is no surprise that they became successful.

However, in 2023, we will have a lot more options. The eCommerce industry is a lot more popular now than it ever has been. And the best part is that you can use various payment methods. As an example, we can take the online casino industry. While it is true that some of the best credit card casinos remain incredibly popular, they have also begun incorporating e-wallet, crypto, and wire transfer payments to keep up with popular demand.


There is no denying that income plays a major role in credit card usage. Credit cards work on a simple premise; you purchase goods and services by accumulating a balance. The higher the credit card balance, the more money you owe to your credit card company. If you have a lot more disposable income, you will use credit cards less, as you will not need to borrow money for your purchases.

Of course, credit card companies will rarely issue a card if they are not sure you can pay back your debt. This means, low-income households tend to have a more challenging time getting credit cards than higher-income households. And the facts seem to bear this out. More often than not, middle-class families tend to use credit cards most frequently.


Age is a big factor in credit card usage. We already agreed that members of the Golden Generation default to credit card-based payments a lot more often. However, what is fascinating is that Baby Boomers have a much higher credit card balance and tend to own a lot more credit cards on average. Whereas members of the Golden Age tend to have 2 – 3 cards per person, Baby Boomers own a staggering 5.5 cards per person.

Younger generations tend to own fewer credit cards. For example, Gen Zers only have an average of 2 cards per person. And in fact, a growing number of them don’t use credit cards at all. Instead, they prefer debit cards, e-wallets, and alternative payment methods like cryptocurrency or similar digital assets. And though many of them use credit cards to purchase crypto, many just stick to e-wallets. To be expected of the generation that grew up in the “Information Age.”

Is Credit Card Usage Decreasing?

As we can see from the previous section, credit card usage is decreasing with each new generation. It isn’t just members of Gen Z that have forgone credit card-based payments. Millennials use credit cards far less frequently than Boomers or Gen Xers. Not only that, but most Millennials own between 3 – 4 cards. While still quite a bit, it is less than 5.5 per person.

Why Credit Card Usage is Decreasing

The main reason for the decrease in credit card usage is the available alternatives. Many people prefer debit cards, as they don’t require you to take out loans. On top of that, we now have e-wallets, crypto, and even e-checks. And while many predict that credit cards will experience a comeback, for now, their usage is certainly lower than ever.


  • What factors influence credit card use?

Experts have found that credit card use is influenced by income, marital status, age, and several other factors.

  • Which generation is most likely to use credit cards?

The members of the Golden Age generation most default to credit card purchases.

  • Which generation has the highest credit card balance?

On average, the Baby Boomers have the highest credit card balance.

  • Are younger people more likely to use credit cards?

Not at all. Millennials and Gen Zers are actively avoiding using credit cards. Instead, they prefer debit cards, e-wallets, or even cryptocurrency

  • Will credit cards make a comeback?

Some experts believe that credit cards will make a comeback. However, it seems that Millennials and Gen Zers don’t like to use credit cards. The number of people taking out credit cards has significantly decreased in the past few decades.


About the author

Saman Iqbal

Saman is a law student. She enjoys writing about tech, politics and the world in general. She's an avid reader and writes fictional prose in her free time.

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