The Pulse

For Consumers, Tension Between Financial Stress and Optimism

Millennials find dealing with finances ‘very stressful’ — 13% more than older consumers

MCLEAN, Va., Oct. 17, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — In honor of National Get Smart About Credit Day, CreditWise® from Capital One® (NYSE: COF) released a new survey focused on credit behaviors and attitudes, revealing tension in how U.S. consumers think about finances.

According to the findings, 73 percent of those surveyed consider finances a source of stress in their lives, even more so than politics (59 percent), work (49 percent) and family (46 percent). Despite this outlook, 42 percent of all adults surveyed expressed optimism, expecting to be better off financially a year from now, while only 10 percent expect to be worse off.

“Good credit can go a long way in helping consumers achieve their financial goals, and National Get Smart About Credit Day is an opportune time for Capital One to further explore financial attitudes, behaviors and the impact credit has on financial wellbeing,” said Chris Gatz, Head of CreditWise at Capital One. “We found that while people are optimistic about their financial future, few (16 percent) are very familiar with how to improve their credit score. With CreditWise, they can access their score, review their credit report and receive suggestions to improve their score.”

Additional findings from the survey include:

Current Financial Climate for Younger Consumers

  • Finances are the biggest point of stress, particularly for younger consumers, with 82 percent of Generation Z and 81 percent of Millennial consumers surveyed saying finances are a source of stress in their lives.
  • Millennial women surveyed are significantly more stressed about finances (61 percent very stressful) than millennial men (47 percent).
  • Younger consumers surveyed are also the most optimistic, with more than half (53 percent) of Millennials who responded saying they will be better off a year from now and only six percent expecting to be worse off.

Credit Score Literacy

  • 51 percent of U.S. consumers report that they regularly check their credit score while a quarter (25 percent) report they check when a bank or credit monitoring service suggests they do.
  • Despite the frequency with which U.S. consumers check their score, 29 percent admit they are not confident they would know what to do if they saw something strange on their credit report.
  • When it comes to specific life events that could impact one’s credit score, U.S. consumers report feeling the most concerned about their credit score when buying a house (62 percent), buying a car (60 percent), wedding/divorce (34 percent) and holiday shopping (33 percent).
  • More than half (59 percent) of respondents want to learn more about tips to improve their credit score.

Financial Management & Tools

Digital tools are consumers’ preferred way to manage their finances with around half (51 percent) of those surveyed primarily using digital/online tools.

We found that while people are optimistic about their financial future, few (16 percent) are very familiar with how to improve their credit score...

CreditWise is one of several digital tools from Capital One focused on helping consumers succeed financially. Whether a Capital One customer or not, consumers can enroll in CreditWise, a free credit monitoring tool that helps users understand, improve and monitor their credit. With CreditWise, users can access their VantageScore® 3.0 credit score, view their TransUnion® credit report as often as they like, and get suggestions to help improve their score. CreditWise also has innovative features to help users monitor their credit and keep better tabs on their information.

To learn more about CreditWise, visit





About Capital One
Capital One Financial Corporation ( is a financial holding company whose subsidiaries, which include Capital One, N.A., and Capital One Bank (USA), N.A., had $254.5 billion in deposits and $373.6 billion in total assets as of June 30, 2019. Headquartered in McLean, Virginia, Capital One offers a broad spectrum of financial products and services to consumers, small businesses and commercial clients through a variety of channels. Capital One, N.A. has branches located primarily in New York, Louisiana, Texas, Maryland, Virginia, New Jersey and the District of Columbia. A Fortune 500 company, Capital One trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “COF” and is included in the S&P 100 index.
Survey Methodology
This survey by Capital One and Morning Consult was conducted July 10 – 12, 2019 among a national sample of 2,202 adults. The interviews were conducted online, and the data was weighted to approximate a target sample of adults based on age, educational attainment, gender, race, and region. Results from the full survey have a margin of error of plus or minus two percentage points.