HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT)-- A new study by Bankrate.com reveals more than 6 in 10 millennials don't have a credit card.
According to the report, released Monday, 63% of people ages 18-29 do not have a credit card. In comparison, only 35% of adults 30 and over admit they don't have one.
This could be a bad thing if they need to buy a house or car and need to qualify for certain loans with a good credit score, said John Burnett, University of Alabama- Huntsville finance professor.
"I think for a lot of young people, establishing credit with a credit card is perhaps the easiest way they can get started [building that credit]," he said.
College students we talked to say instead, they tend to rely on debit cards for electronic transactions. They say it's an option that allows them to use their money, but there's no way they can spend what they don't have.
They tell us they haven't opened a credit card out of fear they won't be responsible enough with it.
"Especially when it comes to shopping, I feel like a credit card would just get me in huge trouble," said Lena Cheatham, a University of Alabama- Huntsville freshman.
"If I had a credit card, then I might forget about paying the bills on time and I might mess up my credit score," echoed UAH sophomore Ryan Gott.
There are other ways to build credit, if you or your child is apprehensive about signing up for a credit card. Burnett says it can help to take out a small loan and pay it back over time, or even open up a department store card and use it sparingly.
But if you decide it's a good idea to open a card, bankers we spoke with by phone recommend starting small, and starting early.
It may require a co-signer if you're just starting out, but they say it's good to open up a card with a small line of credit (like a few hundred dollars.) You can work your way up to a higher limit if need be, and build credit in the process while you're young. That way, upon graduation, you have some more flexibility.
But the overall message: be responsible, no matter what you decide to do.
"The biggest way to ruin your credit is to not pay your bills on time," said Burnett.