The Pulse

Credit Knowledge: Gen Z vs. Millennials

Gen Z chooses excellent credit over TikTok fame

In a recent study of how Millennials and Gen Z view personal finance and credit, leading financial wellness platform, Credit Sesame, examines young Americans’ changing financial perceptions and the results may surprise you. For a more in depth look at the survey findings including the methodology, click here.

SAN FRANCISCO, Feb. 22, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — Financial wellness company Credit Sesame, the first platform to provide consumers free and ongoing access to their full credit information, today published the results of a comprehensive study on the financial literacy and well-being of younger generations, particularly their understanding of credit and other personal finance matters. In the age of viral trends and digital consumption, Gen Z is rewriting the financial script, proving that their credit story is far from conventional

A new survey, conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Credit Sesame, illuminates the complicated love affair between Gen Z and credit, challenging stereotypes and ushering in a new era of financial consciousness.

Amidst the TikTok craze, the survey unveils a startling revelation: 92% of Gen Z prioritizes a credit score of 750 or higher over the allure of tens of thousands of social media followers. This shift in priorities challenges preconceptions, painting a portrait of a generation that understands the impact of a robust credit history on their financial well-being.

Amongst other findings, a survey of 500 Gen Z and 500 millennials conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Credit Sesame revealed:

  • 66% of respondents believe that their credit score is a good measure of their financial health.
  • One-third believe that age-old myth that checking your credit score will affect it and 19% couldn’t correctly match the definitions of debit and credit.
  • 42% of respondents would rate their understanding of how credit scores work as “average to poor.”
  • 82% of respondents admit they struggle to keep up with their friends’ saving and spending habits (35% of millennials struggle “very much” vs only 24% of Gen Zers).
  • Credit card debt is impacting younger Americans’ larger goals, such as buying a house (35%), taking a dream vacation (29%) and saving for retirement (28%).
  • 44% of respondents said they would leave their bank due to poor customer service, compared to only 15% for failure to reduce their carbon footprint.

Credit scores have been the gold standard for creditworthiness for decades, yet the traditional credit scoring methods have long been a source of confusion for consumers, made evident by the survey results showing 42% of respondents rating their understanding of how credit scores work average to poor. Credit Sesame breaks down the barriers for everyone to build better credit scores, especially people with low or limited credit history, commonly seen amongst young people working to establish strong financial health.

Despite some of these knowledge gaps, Gen Z and Millennial respondents are abiding by age-old and wise money mantras, such as “time is money” (52%), “save for a rainy day” (46%) and “never spend money before you have it” (42%).

Underlying Generational Differences

The study also underlines the difference between the two generations surveyed. Millennials reported opening their first bank accounts at 21 plus applying for their first credit cards and starting to pay rent around the age of 23. Meanwhile, Gen Z respondents started opening bank accounts and credit cards earlier, at 19 and 20, respectively. This notable drive to start their financial journey younger aligns with valuing peer experiences and collective wisdom on social media platforms like TikTok and YouTube over traditional authority figures in finance of generations past. Interestingly though, one in 10 of Gen Z said they do not currently have a credit card or credit score.

The survey also indicated that in-person banking and the use of cash seems to be going out of style: 43% of respondents prefer to bank online with 28% admitting they either “always” or “often” feel judged for banking in person. Similarly, 28% of Gen Z respondents “always” or “often” feel judged when using cash to pay, with more than a third of millennials sharing the same sentiment.

“In this survey, we unearthed a remarkable truth – the perceived stereotypes of young people and their approach to their credit and finances stands debunked,” said Adrian Nazari, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Credit Sesame. “They comprehend that a strong credit history is the linchpin of financial wellness, but they lack the education to make more informed choices like the 80% of Gen Z and Millennials who feel their debt is preventing them from owning homes, saving for retirement, and having children. The findings from this study underscore Credit Sesame’s mission – to provide free access, education, and tools to everyone to improve their credit and financial health.”




About Credit Sesame
Credit Sesame is a financial wellness platform, leveraging the latest technology, AI and analytics to help consumers achieve better financial health and stability and create better opportunities for themselves and their families. Credit Sesame has helped millions of consumers improve their credit scores, increase their approval odds, lower their cost of credit and save money. Strong credit health leads to better financial health and stability, and with Sesame Cash, Credit Sesame helps accelerate consumers’ credit and financial wellness in one place. Credit Sesame is funded by leading institutional and strategic investors. It currently operates in the U.S. and Canada. For more information on Credit Sesame, visit and follow on Instagram, Facebook, X, and LinkedIn.