New Study By DontSpendMore.com Uncovers Startling Facts About How Consumers Manage Credit Cards

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A recent study by DontSpendMore.com revealed some very surprising insights about how consumers manage credit cards.

Based on statistics provided by the Federal Reserve, the total outstanding revolving debt in US is estimated to be over $854 billion. The heavy debt load is indicative of the fact that an average American would be carrying thousands of dollars in unpaid debt.

“Despite serious repercussions on their credit and overall financial future, most respondents engaged in self-defeating behavior when it came to credit cards and overall credit management. The study revealed a disturbing trend indicating that over half of the respondents did not monitor their credit regularly. Further, nearly 90% of the respondents did not actively transfer their balances to lower interest rate credit cards,” says Nimish Thakkar, CEO of DontSpendMore.com, a site that helps consumers save hundreds of dollars every month.

Here is a brief summary of the study’s findings:

Over 65% of the respondents did not monitor credit regularly

Although AnnualCreditReport.com is a complimentary credit reporting service where consumers can obtain one credit report every year, over 65% of respondents did not use the site to obtain their annual credit report. Only 18% of the study participants used the site every year, while nearly 13% did so every few years. 89% were not enrolled in a paid credit monitoring plan.

Nearly 56% of the respondents did not track bonuses and rewards points

Lured by travel rewards, percentage bonuses, and other rewards many individuals apply for credit cards in the hopes of gaining discounts and perks. Yet, nearly 56% of the respondents left the tracking and monitoring to credit card companies. This could be a cause of concern if there are important dates, redemption deadlines, and expiration policies associated with the account.

90% did not utilize the opportunity to cut credit card interest rates

Over 90% of the respondents said they either did not transfer at all or transferred less than $5,000 of outstanding balances to lower interest rate credit cards. This represents a lost opportunity to lower interest rates and monthly credit card expenses.

Nil response when it came to actively negotiating credit card rates

“It used to be much easier to negotiate credit card rates until recently, and although these days it is very hard to obtain a reduction many companies will work with you if your situation is unique,” says Thakkar. DontSpendMore.com’s research did not find any respondent who had actively worked with a credit card company to lower interest rates.

Not all findings were discouraging, though. Some positive findings include:

Improving trend in paying credit card bills
43% said they pay their bills in full every month. Only 9% make minimum payments while over 69% pay either in full or as much as possible.

Reduction in spending
Also, total 2012 annual credit card spending per individual was less than $5,000 for over 61% of the respondents.

Borrowers are diligent when it comes to reading credit card statements
36% spent between two and ten minutes to analyze their monthly credit card statements and
62% verified the accuracy of the numbers.

DontSpendMore.com is a free site that helps consumers save hundreds of dollars every month on credit cards, cell phone plans, insurance, loans, mortgages, long distance, and more.

Source: For detailed study methodology and supporting charts and files, please visit: http://www.dontspendmore.com/consumer_credit_card_behavior.cfm

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Nimish Thakkar
DontSpendMore.com
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