Different gender approach to personal debt uncovered in new creditcard.com.au survey

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Impact of credit card reforms by Australian Reserve Bank prompts different response from women and men credit seekers. A national survey conducted in March and April by comparison site creditcard.com.au reveals a surprising battle of the sexes with women more aware of personal debt issues, but lagging behind men in cutting debt levels

When it comes to credit card debt behaviour, the battle of the sexes takes on a definite twist, a new national survey of Australian credit seekers has found.

Women and men take different paths in addressing the issue of debt balances. Despite women being more aware of the impact of credit card debt, men are more prepared to do something about it.

The survey was conducted by comparison site, creditcard.com.au, to examine the impact of credit card reforms introduced by the Australian Reserve Bank nine months ago.

creditcard.com.au founder, Roland B Bleyer, said the survey results revealed an unexpected gender contradiction: women being more aware but less likely to act when it comes to credit and debt issues.

"The gender bender aspect of the survey results surprised us because of the contradiction it threw up. creditcard.com.au has been observing a trend where more people are trying to pay debts down. From the feedback we also get from our customers it is clear Australian women often take the lead in managing money and debt. So it did surprise us that men are claiming to be more active in reducing debt levels than women.”

Of the respondents who were aware of the major changes to credit card rules that were made in the Reserve Bank’s reforms, six out ten were women. The survey also showed that more women than men, by a factor of two to one, had noticed the highlighted panel on monthly credit card statements. This warning had been mandated by the reforms to show the true cost of interest repayments.

Yet twice as many women as men admitted to holding a higher level of credit card debt than before the reforms. And for every woman paying down their credit card debt balance faster in 2013, two men were doing the same.

Another pointer to women’s greater appetite for credit was the response to the 2012 Reserve Bank reform ruling that stopped banks and other credit providers urging people to increase their credit limits. Since last July credit seekers have had to opt in to receive an invitation to increase their credit limit.

Less than one third of the 1,070 respondents have done so. But of those opting in to receive the invitations for a credit level hike 75% were women. “This was another surprise, although we don’t know how higher was the level of credit they were seeking, or why,” said Bleyer.

He added: "creditcard.com.au has just launched its "2013Australian credit landscape" survey. It will be a much broader and deeper poll that covers a wide range of issues. We will be probing more closely into the findings of the current survey."

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Roland B Bleyer

Brian Twomey
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