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Consumers Doing Better Managing Credit Card Debt

A survey finds that one-third of households carry credit card balances from month to month.

By University Alliance on October 01, 2015
Survey: Americans Doing Better at Managing Credit Card Balances

Americans are doing a better job managing credit card debt but remain concerned about their personal finances, an annual survey shows.

About one-third of households reported carrying credit card balances from month to month, down considerably from the peak of the Great Recession in 2009, when 44% of households didn’t pay off their credit cards each month.

Meanwhile, fewer consumers (11%) have monthly balances exceeding $2,500 compared with the previous year (15%), according to the 2015 Financial Literacy Survey. The online survey was conducted by the Harris Poll on behalf of the nonprofit National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) and the personal finance website NerdWallet.

During the first quarter of 2015, U.S. household debt totaled $11.85 trillion, up slightly over the previous three-month period, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. However, credit card debt was down $16 billion to $684 billion.

Mortgages account for 69% of household debt, with credit card balances comprising 6%, the bank reported.

Since the recession, Americans have been more responsible in handling credit card debt, Richard Cordray, director of the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, told National Public Radio in August.

Despite the better news over credit card debt, the ninth annual survey by the NFCC and NerdWallet found that seven in 10 Americans worry about their finances. Additionally, 60% of respondents said they don’t budget for their expenditures.

“That is nearly the same as last year, which was the highest percentage in six years,” according to a news release on the NFCC website.

Other highlights of the survey:

  • 21% of Americans are spending more year-over-year
  • 66% have non-retirements savings
  • 57% of respondents are saving for retirement
  • 28% worry their nest egg won’t be large enough
  • 24% of credit card holders are delinquent on their bills

When asked to grade their knowledge of personal finance, 19% of respondents gave themselves an A, 40% a B, 31% a C, 7% a D and 3% an F. Those percentages were largely unchanged compared with the previous few years.



Category: 2015 Headlines