How Young People View Credit: Predictable Debt Overload?


Sophie Roussin


Union des consommateurs




Considering the increasing indebtedness of young people, the ubiquitous advertising of credit, their possible ignorance of how credit operates, etc., the present project examines, notably through discussion groups, young people’s perception of credit, the factors that have moulded that perception, and the latter’s consequences on credit use by young people.

The present report presents the results of that research among young people aged 15 to 21. For the purpose of analysis, Union des consommateurs formed groups of young people who do not usually use credit yet (aged 15 to 17) and groups of young people who use credit (aged 18 to 21). It should be mentioned that the purpose of this research is to identify certain trends in young people’s perception of credit. Given the limited sampling, the results of this study should be considered only as an overview of certain realities.

The first chapter of the present report draws a portrait of young people’s indebtedness and credit use. It discusses the general financial situation of young people, the types of credit they use, etc. Finally, it analyses available data on young people’s attitude toward and perception of credit. The second chapter presents the workings of the discussion groups: methodology used, minutes of the discussions, etc. The discussion groups attempted to discern young people’s perception of credit, the sources of that perception, the ability of young people to understand credit advertisements, etc. Based on data collected in a review of the literature and in the discussion groups, the third and final chapter considers the necessity of modifying young people’s perception of credit, and how and when it would be best to do so. The study’s conclusions are followed by recommendations intended to be useful in current and future discussions on the subject.

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OCA Funded Research
This research received funding support through the Office of Consumer Affairs' Contributions Program.

Contact information

Union des consommateurs
7000 Parc Ave, Suite 201
Montreal, QC  H3N 1X1
(514) 521-6820
(514) 521-0736

Source: Consumer Policy Research Database

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