Conflicting studies show a conflicting view of credit card use from younger consumers, reminding businesses that they’ll need to stay informed about shifting customer trends, in order to stay competitive.

A report from Ohio State recently made the news, showing that young people — those born after 1980 — currently carry higher credit card debt than older people (although another study in the same news cycle mentioned that older folk were often turning to credit in order to pay medical bills).

credit card debt

The study, which used data from Capital One, showed not only steadily accumulating debt among younger Americans, but a harder time paying it off.  This has been attributed, variously, to stagnant wages and fewer job opportunities, and/or the relative ease that makes spending possible; any new purchase is just a couple of button clicks or screen swipes away.

Yet at the same time, another study from the Auriemma Consulting Group states that debit cards — not credit — are increasingly the preferred means of “plastic” payment for consumers 35 and under: Fully 49 per cent of them now prefer debit cards to ratcheting up more of that aforementioned debt. The same study notes that 45 per cent of older consumers have the same preference, by the way, and that paying in cash — the most “retro” form of transaction — is making a comeback.

All of which means you have to be nimble in addressing your customers’ needs, as they adjust their spending and their preferences due to economic factors, etc. Make sure you take debit as well as credit, and consider reward cards to encourage frequent shoppers.  and for those who access you online and want a “cash”-like option, make sure you can accept electronic checks, as well.

Your AVPS rep can help bring you “up to date” so that a customer with changing spending habits can still be… a steady customer! Contact us today to make sure you’re meeting your customers whenever, and however, they’re willing spend.