Updated July 3, 2013

Survey: Student Credit Card Debt Statistics

College Students Financially Savvy, Avoid High Credit Card Debt
Read more about Student

College students are less reliant on credit cards and are more confident about their financial shrewdness, according to a CreditDonkey.com survey.

Do you feel responsible enough to use a credit card?
Do you feel responsible enough to use a credit card? © CreditDonkey

A vast majority of students feel responsible enough to use credit cards without straddling themselves with unsustainable levels of debt. 84.7% of students said that they feel responsible enough to use a credit card, even though some of those students don't have any credit cards at all.

At what age did you get your first credit card?
At what age did you get your first credit card? © CreditDonkey

3 in 10 respondents said that they don't have a credit card and another 3 in 10 got their first credit card at age 18.

Were you approved for the first credit card you applied for?
Were you approved for the first credit card you applied for? © CreditDonkey

Most students, some 60.2%, said that they were approved for the first credit card they applied for, while 28.1 percent said that they have never applied for a credit card.

"College students' confidence in their ability to manage debt may be well-founded, especially when compared to the Baby Boomers, who, in recent years, have become synonymous with high debt," says Charles Tran, founder of CreditDonkey.com.

Recently, a majority of boomers between 50 and 64 surveyed by the AARP said that they feel anxious about whether they can afford to retire, thanks both to high levels of debt and low levels of assets.

Do you pay the minimum amount due?
Do you pay the minimum amount due? © CreditDonkey

Millennials, on the other hand, are keen to avoid racking up debt even if they do have a card. 42% of college students surveyed who do have a credit card pay off the balance in full, and 20% said that they pay "a lot more than the minimum amount due." Only 16.8% said that they pay the minimum payment every month.

Can student loan debt be wiped out in bankruptcy?
Can student loan debt be wiped out in bankruptcy? © CreditDonkey

Millennials also were overwhelmingly aware of the toll that student loans can take on their financial future. 77.8% of students surveyed were aware that student loans cannot be wiped out in bankruptcy and several cited "student loans" as one of their largest financial concerns.

Related Findings

How much do you expect to make upon graduation?
How much do you expect to make upon graduation? © CreditDonkey

Upon graduation, college students expect to make an average of $51,220/year. Over 10% of respondents expect to make over $75,000/year. Nearly 5% expect to make less than the national poverty threshold for a family of 4 ($23,050).

How do you primarily pay for day-to-day expenses?
How do you primarily pay for day-to-day expenses? © CreditDonkey

Nearly 6 in 10 primarily pay for day-to-day expenses with a debit card. 1 in 6, some 16%, pays with a credit card.

Would you pay a Financial Literacy Fee?
Would you pay a Financial Literacy Fee? © CreditDonkey

1 in 4 would be willing to pay a $25 "financial literacy fee" to establish/support a college financial literacy program, in addition to tuition.

CreditDonkey.com conducted the online survey of 1,041 college students from August 2 to August 27, 2012.

Share this on Facebook or Twitter

Follow @CreditDonkey or write to Mike Foster at mike@creditdonkey.com
Mike Foster is a contributing writer at CreditDonkey, a credit card comparison and financial education website. Our data-driven analysis has been recognized by major news outlets across the country and has helped women make savvy financial and lifestyle decisions. (read more)

More Articles in News

Student Credit Cards

Infographics: Build Credit for Students

How to Build Credit for Students

Rising student loan debt and high unemployment among young adults has made establishing good credit more challenging than ever. Good credit can help demonstrate to lenders your ability to manage debt and to be financially responsible.

Comments about Survey: Student Credit Card Debt Statistics

  • Amberr Meadows from Georgia
    on September 10, 2012 6:18 PM said:

    I got my first card at 18 and was very responsible. However, my job took a turn for the worse a few years ago, and all those credit cards I juggled finally made me cave. I am now starting from scratch on rebuilding.

Comments may be filtered for language. CreditDonkey makes no guarantee of comments' factual accuracy. These responses are not provided or commissioned by bank advertisers. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by bank advertisers. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered. Visitors may report inappropriate content by clicking the Report abuse link.

Name (required)
Email (required; won't be published)
Website (optional)

or you can also trackback from your blog.

Discover it Student Card Review

College students looking to build credit, earn cash back, and pay no annual fee should consider the Discover It for Students. With the combined generous rewards program, intro APR on new purchases and no late fee on the first late payment, it's ...
More Articles in News






About CreditDonkey®
CreditDonkey is a credit card comparison website. We publish data-driven analysis to help you save money & make savvy financial decisions.

Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed on this page are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.

†Advertiser Disclosure: The card offers that appear on this site are from companies from which CreditDonkey receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). CreditDonkey does not include all companies or all offers that may be available in the marketplace.

*See the card issuer's online application for details about terms and conditions. Reasonable efforts are made to maintain accurate information. However, all information is presented without warranty. When you click on the "Apply Now" button you can review the terms and conditions on the card issuer's website.

CreditDonkey does not know your individual circumstances and provides information for general educational purposes only. CreditDonkey is not a substitute for, and should not be used as, professional legal, credit or financial advice. You should consult your own professional advisors for such advice.