Great Recession left Millennials scared of credit cards, survey finds


More than a third of millennials — a generation shaped by the worst economic collapse in decades — have never used a credit card, according to a new report by

“Millennials have come of age in the Great Recession, and the really awful job market that goes along with it,” said Matt Schulz, senior analyst at, a division of North Palm Beach-based Bankrate.

Many millennials have opted instead to use prepaid cards or debit cards — which come with neither the pitfalls nor benefits associated with credit cards.

How will millennials’ reluctance to use credit cards now affect their ability to borrow later in life? That depends, said Jeff Scott, spokesman for Fair Isaac, which produces the widely used FICO credit scores.

“There are so many factors that it’s impossible to give a general rule of thumb,” Scott said. “The best advice is to pay all your bills on time every month.”

Building a credit history helps boost your FICO score. But taking out credit before you’re able to manage it will tank your score.

For a consumer-driven economy that’s fueled in large part by car loans, mortgages and credit card purchases, a generation’s changing habits could create sweeping change.

“One of the big unanswered questions around this is will millennials, as they age, move toward credit cards?” Schulz said. “Or is this more of a generational shift?” notes that it’s not as easy for young millennials to get credit cards as it was for older millennials and Gen X, whose members were wooed by relentless marketing efforts. The 2009 CARD Act, which limited marketing to young people, requires consumers younger than 21 to show proof of income, or to have an adult co-signer.

The survey also finds a sharp divide between rural and urban/suburban Americans. Just 46 percent of country folk say someone should get their first credit card before age 25, compared to 70 percent of urban dwellers. And 9 percent of rural Americans say you should never sign up for a credit card, compared to only 2 percent of city folk.


Will Allen calls Jack Johnson deadbeat, Johnson calls Allen loan shark

jack-johnsonIn a soap operatic financial saga, former NFL player Will Allen lost big on a loan to current NHL player Jack Johnson.

The loan plays a major role in the Securities and Exchange Commission’s civil suit, unsealed today, that accuses Allen of running a Ponzi scheme. Johnson, for his part, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last year.

Allen, a former Miami Dolphin who lives in Davie, was deposed last year in Palm Beach County as part of his lawsuit against Johnson. Allen said he began doing business with Johnson in 2012, during the NHL lockout.

Allen said he first loaned $250,000 to Johnson and charged his standard origination fee of 3 percent, or $7,500.

“I don’t remember him making any payments at all,” Allen said in the deposition.

Even so, Allen agreed to make a larger loan of $1.4 million to Johnson at a one-month interest rate of 12 percent — even though the financially troubled Johnson’s credit score had plunged 100 points.

“I kind of started, to be honest, feeling, not sorry, but like feeling like, you know, we can help him and we can make 12 percent,” Allen said. “I mean, why not, you know.”

During the deposition, Johnson’s attorney, Michael Furbush of Orlando, seized on the steep interest rate, which he said violates Florida’s usury law. After all, 12 percent in one month equates to 144 percent for the year, Furbush said.

“Do you understand that the rate being charged on the $1.4 million loan is illegal under Florida law?” Furbush asked.

“Don’t answer the question,” said Allen’s attorney, Mark Heinish of Boca Raton.

Florida’s usury statute limits annual interest rates to 18 percent on loans of $500,000 or less. For loans of more than $500,000, the maximum rate is 25 percent.

The SEC says the loan amount to Johnson later ballooned to $3.4 million — but Allen told investors the amount was $5.6 million.