When do you use your credit cards? For vacations and large purchases? Everyday purchases including gas and groceries? Only in emergencies? Americans’ credit card usage varies among individuals and families, but trends show that overall, consumers are relying on their credit cards less. This could signal an improved economy, better spending habits, or an awakening to the difficult reality of accumulating credit card debt. For individuals who become reliant on credit cards, compounding bills, interest, and fees could lead to a downward spiral and unmanageable debt.
According to a recent Gallup Poll, more Americans are paying off the full amount of their credit card balances every month. This could mean an overall reduction in credit card debt and interest, which can make it difficult to pay off balances over time. Our Birmingham bankruptcy attorneys understand the struggles faced by American consumers. We also know that overwhelming debt is a significant source of stress. Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy are available to help you tackle insurmountable debts and get control of your finances.
The Gallup Polls indicate that 48% of Americans are paying of their balances every month. This is higher than the years prior to the 2008 Great Recession. Those who do not pay off their balances (33%), have a record low balance since Gallup started recording the data. The polls also show that less than 1% of Americans are not paying the full minimum amount, which could minimize the fees and penalties associated with using credit cards. Analysts say that the 64% of Americans paying their debts on time is the highest Gallup has ever recorded, showing trends of fiscal responsibility and perhaps, an improving economy.
Americans may not be relying on credit to make purchases or taking out as many credit cards as they used to during the 80s and 90s. The recent report shows that 29% of Americans do not own a credit card and only 7% own more than 7 credit cards. The average number of credit cards for an American consumer is 3.7. This figure is the lowest ever documented by Gallup polls. These numbers reflect all credit cards including Visa, Mastercard, American Express, and any credit cards for department and retail stores as well as banks or credit unions.
In addition to looking at the number of credit cards and credit card payment behaviors, the polls also reflected the total amount of debt on a credit card. On average, Americans carry a total of $2,426 in debt. Again, this is the lowest figure ever recorded by Gallup. The credit card balance average is down since 2008. Trends also show that the majority of Americans either do not have outstanding de debt on credit cards or do not own a credit card.
Though the polls reflect an average, this does not mean that every American is out of credit card trouble. For individuals who cannot seem to get ahead of debts and accruing interests and fees, there are options. Bankruptcy is one way to put an end to creditor legal action, harassment, and the overall debt struggle. An experienced advocate can help review your individual circumstances and pursue the best debt relief strategy for you and your family.
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