Thursday, October 17 is “Get Smart About Credit Day” and Experian is joining the American Bankers Association to provide young adults with financial education – continuing Experian’s on-going commitment to helping consumers better understand and access credit. Millennials and Generation Z are poised to make or break the consumer confidence index in the next few decades and have been labeled slackers, praised as multi-tasking wizards, credited with driving the digital economy and branded “Children of the Great Recession.”
Both groups also have a strong drive to be financially successful. Recent Experian surveys suggest that Gen Zers and millennials are very interested in their financial health:
- 35% of millennials have checked their credit score within the last week1
- More than 1 out of 3 (38%) Gen Zers find personal finance topics interesting2
- 51% of millennials worry about their credit scores1
- 76% of recent high school graduates agree a class about managing finances should be required in high school2
Not surprisingly, digital tools are important to young adults, with 62% of Gen Zers preferring to check finances using their smartphone.2
“I get the opportunity to talk to a variety of students and young adults,” said Rod Griffin, Experian Director of Consumer Education, “and I don’t think the negative stereotypes stick. They watched the financial crisis firsthand in their early years, and they really don’t want to repeat what their parents went through. They are very interested in learning as much as they can about money, finance and credit and they want to use technology to manage their financial lives. That was a big consideration for Experian’s launch of Experian Boost earlier this year – these age groups will benefit the most from it.”
Experian Boost allows – for the first time – anyone to add utility or telecom information to their Experian credit report, increasing the number of positive payment histories associated with their report and possibly increasing their FICO Score 8 in real time. Young adults, who may not have much credit history, may benefit the most from using Experian Boost. For more information and to try Experian Boost, visit https://www.experian.com/boost.
“As the old saying goes, you don’t know what you don’t know,” said Griffin. “We have a chance to give younger generations the information and tools to know more than previous generations did at their ages.”
Tips for Those New to Credit
Griffin has some standard tips for those new to credit:
- Start small and grow slowly. A secured account with a small credit limit can establish your credit history and help you start saving at the same time. Good credit and strong savings habits go hand-in-hand. You don’t need a credit card with a high limit to have good credit.
- Use the credit you have wisely. Good credit scores are not about having a lot of credit, but rather about how you use the credit you have available. Make a small purchase each month and pay it in full. That will show you can use credit well without taking on debt.
- Use your cell phone to improve your credit. With Experian Boost, you can add positive telecom and utility payments to your credit history and possibly boost your credit score. In the past, failing to pay your utility or cell phone bills could hurt your credit, but paying on time didn’t help. With Experian Boost, that’s changed.
- Use technology to make managing your credit automatic. Millennials and Gen Zers are the most technologically savvy generations in our history. Use technology, such as online banking apps and credit management tools like the Experian app, to automate savings and payments, to alert you to potential fraud and to track your progress as you build your credit history.
“Digital is the future,” added Griffin. “Credit reports don’t look like they did 10 years ago, let alone when I was in high school. Hand a Gen Zer or a Millennial a piece of paper with their credit report and they won’t like it. Show them an app and they will figure out credit reports, scores and how to manage their finances faster than Gen Xers or Boomers ever did.”
For more finance and credit education, go to http://www.experian.com/education.
1. Experian “Millennials: All About Scores” Survey; fielded August 16- 30, 2019
2. Experian “Gen Z Financial Literacy” Survey; fielded August 15-16, 2019
The Get Smart About Credit (GSAC) program sponsored by the ABA Community Engagement Foundation is a national campaign of volunteer bankers who work with high school students and young adults to raise awareness about the importance of personal finance skills. Bankers registered to participate in this free program will receive access to a private resource page containing promotional materials, student activities, communication tools and lesson plans (also available in Spanish) covering topics that include; Banking Careers, Budgeting, Credit Scores, Identity Theft and Paying for College.