New Survey: More Than Half of Consumers Have Maxed Out a Credit Card

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According to recent poll by ACCC 58 percent of consumers have maxed out a credit card

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Maxing out a credit card can be particularly problematic for consumers and can result in higher minimum payments, making balances harder to repay and lowering credit scores.

According to a recent survey by American Consumer Credit Counseling, almost 58 percent of consumers have maxed out on a credit card at least once. Of the respondents who have maxed out their credit card, 61 percent have maxed out on multiple credit cards.

Of all respondents, 55 percent of consumers have 3 or more credit cards, and nearly 30 percent have more than 4 credit cards. According to the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, the average credit card holder in 2013 had 2.7 general purpose cards and 1.4 branded cards.

“Many consumers are probably not aware of the bad credit card habits that could lead to increased debt and financial problems,” said Steve Trumble, President and CEO of American Consumer Credit Counseling, which is based in Newton, MA. “Bad credit habits such as paying late, maxing out cards, balance transfers and carrying a balance can all lead to financial distress in the short and long-term. Maxing out a credit card can be particularly problematic for consumers and can result in higher minimum payments, making balances harder to repay and lowering credit scores.”

According to the survey, nearly 80 percent of respondents say they do not use their credit cards for cash advances. Fifty-four percent of respondents do not use balance transfers and about 16 percent of those consumers do not know what a balance transfer is.
Thirty-seven percent of respondents who already have at least one credit card would sign up for retail cards at their favorite store, according to the survey. However, 44 percent say they would never sign up for a store card. Of those respondents, 56 percent say they would skim through or try to understand the fine print. On the flip side, 29 percent of consumers admit they wouldn’t read the fine print at all.

Fifty-three percent of the respondents with credit cards are between the age of 25 and 45.
The online poll of 107 budget conscious consumers was conducted by American Consumer Credit Counseling on the organization’s website, http://www.consumercredit.com. You can view an infographic illustrating the poll results here: http://www.consumercredit.com/financial-education/infographics/infographic-spooky-credit-card-habits.aspx

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
  •     Or visit us online at http://www.ConsumerCredit.com

About American Consumer Credit Counseling
American Consumer Credit Counseling (ACCC) is a nonprofit credit counseling 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to empowering consumers to achieve financial management through credit counseling, debt counseling, bankruptcy counseling, housing counseling, student loan counseling and financial education. Each month, ACCC invites consumers to participate in a poll focused on personal finance issues. The results are conveyed in the form of infographics that act as tools to educate the community on everyday consumer debt issues and problems. By learning more about financial management topics such as credit and debt management, consumers are empowered to make the best possible financial decisions to reach debt relief. As one of the nation’s leading providers of personal finance education and credit counseling services, ACCC’s certified credit advisors work with consumers to help determine the best possible debt solutions for them. ACCC holds an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau and is a member of the National Foundation for Credit Counseling® (NFCC®). To participate in this month’s poll, visit ConsumerCredit.com and for more financial management resources visit http://debthelp.consumercredit.com/.

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Marissa Sullivan
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