Sequin Blog


There’s A Gender Credit Gap, Too. Join Our Feminine Financial Revolution.

June 2, 2024

Headshot of Vrinda Gupta

Vrinda Gupta

Sequin CEO & Co-Founder | Women's Finance Expert | Visa Alum

You’ve heard of the gender pay gap, and maybe you’ve even felt the direct effects of it within your workplace or in your own paycheck. But did you know there’s a gender credit gap, too?

This gap exists not only in personal finances but also in woman-owned and led businesses, resulting in a $1.5 trillion global credit gap.

The short answer: It’s not our fault. The long answer: our entire financial system was designed to leave women out of the narrative. At Sequin, we believe it’s time for a feminine financial revolution.

What Is the Gender Credit Gap?

The gender credit gap is the extra money women pay when using credit cards, as compared to men — regardless of socioeconomic factors like age, income, and education.

Women could be legally rejected from bank accounts and credit cards without a male cosigner only 50 years ago. Today, society still favors men when it comes to banking. There’s a considerable divide in our levels of financial education, an investment gap, and pervasive money anxiety for women. The financial gaps that result from this are staggering.

According to a 2012 FINRA Study, women are:

  • 5 percentage points more likely to carry a credit card balance.
  • 4 points more likely to only pay the minimum payment on their credit cards.
  • 6 points more likely to be charged a late fee.
  • Paying half a percentage point more on average in credit card interest rates than men.

All of these factors compound. Given high credit card interest rates and how many of us are paying the minimum each month, women are getting the short end of the stick thanks to a system that was designed for men. Again, we could be legally rejected from owning our own credit cards only 50 years ago.

Regardless of socioeconomic factors like income, age, and education, these gender credit disparities exist across the board - so let's narrow that gap and finally get the credit education we deserve.

Financial Literacy For Women: A Financial Revolution

One huge reason the gender credit gap is prevalent today is the lack of financial education equality, which starts at a young age.

For so many of us, the bulk of our financial literacy comes from our parents. What we saw modeled growing up, the direct financial education we received, and the money practices we were taught all come into play.

The financial literacy gap for women starts young – despite being educated and professionally ambitious – and it sets us back before we ever have the chance to open our first credit card.

For example, boys are more likely to be taught about finances than girls on topics like:

  • Credit scores (15% more likely)
  • How to pay taxes (9% more likely)
  • Bank Accounts (5% more likely)
  • Investing (2% more likely)

It doesn’t stop there.

Girls are 3% less likely to be taught about credit cards from a young age. And when they are, there’s a heavier emphasis put on fiscal restraint (think—saving over investing, restricting spending over making more money, etc), whereas sons were more likely to be taught about building wealth and earning more money.

Put in simpler terms, girls are taught about financial scarcity more often than financial growth, security, and confidence. We’re not taught to invest in ourselves. But instead, to focus on financial behaviors that reinforce this idea of financial scarcity, like cutting our spending on lattes. As we grow up, these money fears persist and we can end up feeling less financially empowered.

Action step:

Let’s normalize financial independence for women. Investing in yourself and self-care is key to staying consistent with your financial goals. One way to do that is by putting money back in your pocket and control of your spending back in your hands with the Sequin Visa® Rewards Debit Card. The first debit card designed to reward where we as women spend, without opening a credit card that can lead to risky debt. You'll earn 6% cashback on beauty stores, drugstores, gyms, salons, mindfulness apps, and more.

The Credit Gap & Education

Financial education as adults is a key factor in helping women avoid costly credit card behavior.

Despite our degrees (women have more of them, on average!) we’re not educated about the financial world at the same rates as men. This often results in poor credit card behavior, with women being 3% more likely to engage in this behavior. However, this gender gap completely disappears in women with high levels of financial confidence.

The short and sweet? It’s NOT our fault and it’s not on us. That’s why, at Sequin, we’re dedicated to providing women with educational resources to close the gap society has created. Because we know that when more women are equipped with the financial knowledge and tools to make smart money decisions and have strong money habits, the other “gaps” begin to close as well.

Action step:

Calling on women of all ages, backgrounds, and socioeconomic status to get credit educated and help us flip the script! Yes, we as women may be starting from a point of less financial education than men. However, it’s never too late to equip ourselves with the financial knowledge and know-how we may not have received as children. There are free resources available online (check out the Sequin blog!) to learn money skills that we’ve been gatekept from. Take it a step further by signing up for Sequin, where you’ll gain access to money, credit, and wealth guidance designed by women, for women, along with calculators and community through Sequin University.

The Credit Gap & Financial Confidence

While the gaps in financial education are clear, there’s also a notable trend in how we as women see ourselves and our own financial competence.

When asked about their credit score, 58% of men compared to 45% of women believed their credit score was excellent. Likewise, women were 6% more likely to say they had a poor credit score.

In reality, women have equal or better credit scores than men.

However, both perception of credit scores and FICO scores are more likely to increase with income.

Since women are more likely to earn less due to the gender pay gap - which exists regardless of quality and length of education, field of study, occupation, industry, and hours worked - some of this perception bias is to be expected. But it’s a lack of financial confidence and knowledge that creates negative credit score perceptions.

Despite these perceptions and the odds stacked against us, women are better investors and carry less debt. Yet we’re still more likely to regret overspending than men.

Action step:

Recognize that society has made us feel like our spending is frivolous, even though men are just as likely to splurge, and often spend more than women when they do. Embrace your spending power and start earning up to 6% cashback⁺ rewards where we as women spend (without the credit card debt!) with the Sequin Rewards Visa® Debit Card.

Bridging The Gender Credit Gap

It’s time to fight back against the perceptions of women and credit. Don’t buy into the idea that we're worse to lend to, because we’re not.

With the Sequin Rewards Visa® Debit Card, we're taking control of our credit and building excellent credit habits. With the average credit card interest rate remaining extremely high at 24.66% APR, let's use credit to our advantage.

To start, we encourage you to take a look at your own credit card practices.

If you want to earn cashback rewards without being subjected to costly high interest credit card debt, consider Sequin. The Sequin Rewards Visa® Debit Card is officially LIVE, and is the first debit card designed to reward women’s spend with up to 6% cashback⁺ on beauty products and services, drugstores, gyms, salons, and more.

Make your spending count while paying off debt, supporting your financial wellness, and building confidence alongside a community of ambitious women.


Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.