Majority of Younger Americans Feel in Control of their Credit Standing, Despite Economic Uncertainty

November 4, 2020

Though most consumers have improved their credit scores in the past year, younger generations aren’t entirely satisfied with their credit standings. 

Riverwoods, Ill. November 4, 2020 – Despite a turbulent year, 63% of Generation Z and 64% of millennials report feeling their credit score is within their control, according to Discover’s annual Credit Health survey. 

Further, 56% of Gen Z and 63% of millennials who are aware of their credit score said it has improved in the past 12 months. Additionally, in this year’s survey, 41% of Gen Z self-reported “good” to “exceptional” (670 to 850) credit scores and 53% of millennials self-reported scores within the same range.

“It is notable younger generations are feeling in control over their credit score,” Gaurav Sharma, senior vice president of marketing at Discover, said. “Often times, younger generations lack factors that contribute to a strong credit score, such as length of credit history and a mix of credit, which is purely a result of being ‘new’ to credit. It is encouraging to see numbers like these among Gen Z and millennials.” 

Younger Americans Still Aren’t Entirely Satisfied with Their Credit Standing

Along with Gen Z and millennials, the survey polled Generation X and Baby Boomers about their credit standings and their feelings toward their financial health. The results show younger and older generations have different levels of satisfaction with their credit health. While overall, 63% of respondents reported satisfaction with their credit standing in 2020, a 10% increase from 2019, just 43% of Gen Z and 46% of millennials reported satisfaction with their credit standings compared to 54% of Gen X and 81% of boomers.

COVID-19 affected credit health differently among the generations, according to the survey. The pandemic most heavily impacted the credit scores of younger generations, as 36% of millennials and 29% of Gen Z said it negatively affected their credit score compared to 23% of Gen X and 5% of boomers.

Majority of Gen Z and Millennials are Working to Improve Their Credit Scores

But younger generations aren’t letting the pandemic prevent them from rebuilding their standing. In fact, 77% of Gen Z and 82% of millennials are actively trying to build or improve their credit score. Comparatively, 60% of Gen X and only 27% of boomers are actively trying to build or improve their credit score.

Awareness of credit scores seems to play a role in financial management for most of the groups. The survey found the majority of Gen Z, millennials and Gen X believe checking their credit score helps them make better financial decisions (66%, 70% and 63%, respectively) while only 36% of boomers felt the same.

While 82% of millennials are aware of their credit standing, only 57% of Gen Z claims to be aware. Of Gen Zers who have not checked their score within the past year, 31% said it was because they didn’t know how or where to check.

 “While it’s encouraging to see the younger generations trying to actively improve their credit standing, our survey showed that 30% of Gen Z and 31% of millennials have paid fees to check their credit score,” Sharma said. “One of the main reasons Discover created Credit Scorecard was to make sure everyone had access to their FICO® Credit Score – for free¹. This tool empowers all individuals to check their score and the factors impacting it so they can maintain their credit standing or build to a brighter financial future.”

For more information about Discover’s free Credit Scorecard, go to


About the Survey

All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from a Dynata (formerly Research Now/SSI) survey conducted on behalf of Discover Financial Services. The survey was conducted online; fielded from September 22 - 25 with a total sample size of 2,000 US adults (ages 18+). The margin of sampling error was ±5 percentage points with a 90-95 percent level of confidence. The following generational breaks were used when examining the data: Gen Z (18-22), Millennials (23-38), Gen X (39-54), and Baby Boomers (55-73).

About Discover

Discover Financial Services (NYSE: DFS) is a digital banking and payment services company with one of the most recognized brands in U.S. financial services. Since its inception in 1986, the company has become one of the largest card issuers in the United States. The company issues the Discover card, America's cash rewards pioneer, and offers private student loans, personal loans, home loans, checking and savings accounts and certificates of deposit through its banking business. It operates the Discover Global Network comprised of Discover Network, with millions of merchant and cash access locations; PULSE, one of the nation's leading ATM/debit networks; and Diners Club International, a global payments network with acceptance around the world. For more information, visit

1FICO® Credit Scores provided by Credit Scorecard are based on data from Experian and may be different from other credit scores. FICO is a registered trademark of the Fair Isaac Corporation in the U.S. and other countries.

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Jennifer Delgado
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