Budget-Conscious Consumers to Use 2013 Refund to Pay Off Debt and Strengthen Savings

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Latest American Consumer Credit Counseling poll suggests that consumer confidence is improving and that many Americans will use their tax refund to improve their financial future.

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Tax refunds provide consumers with a financial opportunity to make a step in the right direction and these results indicate that consumers are doing just that

Budget-conscious consumers across the country will use this year’s tax refund to pay down debt and strengthen their savings, according to a recent survey conducted by American Consumer Credit Counseling.

Of 251 consumers surveyed in a recent ACCC web poll, 45 percent said they will use their 2013 tax refund to pay down their credit card debt, while 26 percent will put that cash directly in their savings. Less than one percent of respondents will use the refund to open or contribute to a retirement account or pay down student loans.

“Tax refunds provide consumers with a financial opportunity to make a step in the right direction and these results indicate that consumers are doing just that,” said Steve Trumble, President and CEO of American Consumer Credit Counseling. “Paying down debt is the single most important financial action that a consumer can take to achieve a financially stable future and it’s promising that those who have encountered financial difficulty in the past are making better decisions.”

The results of the ACCC web survey also indicate that consumer confidence in the economy is increasing. Eleven percent of those polled plan to use the refund to make a purchase, which is an eight percent increase from the results of ACCC’s 2012 tax refund survey.

The ACCC results follow the release of a Federal Reserve report in March that indicates that the consumer debt market is finally healing. Overall, credit card balances fell by four percent, or $25 billion, during 2012 and consumer credit card debt increased by only 0.2 percent in January 2013. These improvements have been made all while consumers continue to shop, with 2013 February retail sales numbers up by 4.6 percent from February 2012.

“The numbers released by the Federal Reserve demonstrate that consumers are making smarter decisions when it comes to spending and credit card debt,” said Trumble. “With an increase in retail sales, many consumers are opting to pay with cash. However, this should also serve as a warning that Americans should not retreat back into pre-recession spending habits.”

ACCC launched its monthly web survey initiative in January of 2012. The survey program polls consumers on a variety of financial education, budgeting and planning topics, ranging from holiday spending to college planning and credit scores. In honor of National Financial Literacy Month, ACCC’s next poll will focus on financial fitness and can be found at ConsumerCredit.com. Additionally, ACCC will post these polls and the results on their website and Facebook page.

ACCC’s certified and experienced counselors offer a variety of financial education, counseling and debt management services to help consumers achieve long-term financial health and stability. These financial education programs help consumers to better understand and manage their finances.

ACCC is a 501(c)3 organization, that provides free credit counseling, bankruptcy counseling, and housing counseling to consumers nationwide in need of financial literacy education and money management. For more information, contact ACCC:

     • For credit counseling, call 800-769-3571
     • For bankruptcy counseling. call 866-826-6924
     • For housing counseling, call 866-826-7180
     • For more information on financial education workshops in New England, call 800-769-3571 x1980
     • Or visit us online at ConsumerCredit.com

About American Consumer Credit Counseling
American Consumer Credit Counseling (ACCC) is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to empowering consumers to achieve financial health through education, counseling, and debt management. ACCC provides individuals with practical solutions for solving financial problems and recognizes that consumers’ financial difficulties are often not the result of poor spending habits, but more frequently from extenuating circumstances beyond their control. As one of the nation’s leading providers of financial education and credit counseling services, ACCC works with consumers to help them with the best plan of action to reduce their debt and regain financial stability. ACCC is accredited by the Better Business Bureau and holds an A+ rating. It is also a member of the Association of Independent Consumer Credit Counseling Agencies. For more information or to access free financial education resources log on to ConsumerCredit.com or visit TalkingCentsBlog.com.

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