Educating Credit on Campus

As summer winds down, college students prepare to head back to campus, and so do credit card companies. This is when advertising promotion of credit card applications to these young adults starts to ramp up, in hopes of maintaining them as lifetime card holders into adulthood. Borrowing against a line of credit has become a rite of passage in America, so it should be no surprise that people want to start building up their credit scores from an early age. The most common way of doing this is to own a credit card. However, many credit card companies face a challenge when reaching this young audience. But, by unlocking human truths, credit card companies can reach this vital group.

Pandora recently surveyed college listeners, ages 18-24, to get an understanding of their credit card usage:

  • 50% of Pandora listeners ages 18-24 already have at least one credit card.
  • 14% of Pandora listeners ages 18-24 stated they are planning to apply for a credit card in the next 12 months, more than 2x greater than any other age surveyed.
  • Additionally, Pandora listeners are comfortable with having a debit card, and a staggering 85% of listeners ages 18-24 already own a debit card; another 6% of listeners in this cohort stated they plan on applying for a debit card in the next 12 months.

What Entices a College Age Student to Apply to a Particular Credit Card?

Three main reasons rise to the top:

  • 84% low interest rate
  • 78% no annual fee
  • 70% an enticing Reward Program

As a college student, the most important reward might be to graduate, but this age group also wants to be rewarded on their credit card spending1:

  • 72% want cash back
  • 61% want points to purchase products
  • 56% want gas points

But not all rewards are appealing to most college age students. Travel points, like hotel and frequent flyer miles were not very important among college age students, with approximately 30% prioritizing.

49% of college age listeners pay their credit card bill via smart phone

When Paying Their Credit Card Bills, Mobile Payments Win

An astounding 49% of all college age listeners pay their bills, including credit card bills, via a smart phone as their preferred method of payment. Additionally, 14% said they still go into a branch to pay their bill directly.

What time of day do Pandora listeners do their credit payment?

College age listeners do not have a time preference or a particular day they choose to pay their bills, including credit card bills. 87% reported “pay anytime,” with a fairly even distribution of day-parts throughout their day. Pandora reaches a total of 16 million unique college age listeners monthly through our persistently logged-in user base 2. That’s 50% of the total digital population of people ages 18-24 in the U.S. And with only 50% of our college age listeners owning a credit card, it’s imperative that we educate young adults on the importance of building a line of credit.

Our data is our strategic advantage, and can be yours too. Learn more about Pandora’s unique data-driven marketing approaches that cannot be replicated anywhere else today.

Sources: 1. n=1,034, Note: Top two box – combination of answering Extremely Important or Very Important; 2. comScore, Key Measures, July 2016