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Anyone born into the Millennial generation is likely walking around with a very slim wallet, if any at all, and most likely has a strong aversion to anything that may increase their debt.

It’s a bit of a problem for a financial services industry that has no trouble luring in other generations with rewards, cash back, introductory interest rate deals or other perks.

Plastic is too tangible for the Millennial mind, and it takes up space in a wallet that they just don’t need in the digital era, and if no rewards are involved, then Millennials won’t even consider plastic at all.

According to financial services industry research company Aite Group, as reported by Forbes, nearly half of the adults born between 1981 and 2000 have only one rewards card, compared to three or more for 40 percent of seniors and 27 percent of Gen-Xers.

And less than half of Millennials use their card at least once a week, compared to 61% of seniors.

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They’re using mobile payment apps instead — because they can. Other generations didn’t have this option early on, and old habits die hard.

According to a survey by Bankrate.com, only one out of three Millennials even carries a credit card, and when they do they like prepaid cards or debit cards. Overall, they prefer cash.

But Millennials are also gun-shy with debt, especially since they have fewer assets and lower incomes generally, according to Aite Group. Adding credit card debt to the mix is a lesson they don’t want to learn the hard way. This is not a generation that wants to live on regret.

Credit card issuers, then, are finding Millennials highly challenging. Bombarding them with snail mail offers on a daily basis for the latest, greatest credit card of 0-percent financing and other alluring things isn’t working.

To beat the Millennial mindset, they’ve got to step up and stand out, and here are 5 things they’re doing to drag this generation down with the rest:

1. Simple rewards: According to Aite, Millennials use their rewards a lot — they don’t save them up. But while they’re keen on rewards, they won’t pay an annual fee for a credit card. Redeeming rewards needs to be as easy as one click for Millennials because they know it’s possible and they won’t settle for anything that’s not digitally up to speed. They want cash back, and they want it without any hassle. The group notes the PayPal Cashback Mastercard as possibly holding the most allure for Millennials in this area.

2. Millennial-style exclusivity: Offerings for upgrades, free stuff or line-skipping at premium events of Millennial attraction are also in the works. Forbes and Aite note that American Express Platinum is gaining ground with this generation for its partnership with the Coachella music and arts festival.

3. Co-branding for Millennials: Millennial shopping habits are the same, and cards need to keep that in mind with the new Millennial-hunting trend turning to co-branding with popular retailers for additional perks, rewards and free stuff. Think Uber, Starbucks, or Fitness trends.

Safehaven.com is a USA TODAY content partner offering personal finance news and commentary. Its content is produced independently of USA TODAY.

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