Study: Americans Have Unrealistic Views of Credit Card Habits

October 19, 2015
Jared Kaltwasser

When it comes to credit cards, most Americans are engaging in a whole lot of wishful thinking, according to a new survey.

When it comes to credit cards, most Americans are engaging in a whole lot of wishful thinking, according to a new survey.

CompareCards, a credit card comparison website, found most Americans believe they use their credit cards responsibly despite the fact that more than one-third have more than four credit cards and one-fifth of respondents have more than $5,000 in credit card debt.

“Even though more than half of respondents don’t fully pay off their credit cards on a monthly basis, they believe they are using them responsibly,” said Chris Mettler, the founder of CompareCards. “This is concerning, as it reveals that many consumers may not be aware of just how much their spending habits impact their credit and long-term debt.”

The study is based on the credit card spending habits of some 4,400 consumers.

A whopping 71% of respondents said they use their credit cards “responsibly.” And many, in fact, do. One-quarter of survey respondents had less than $100 in total credit card debt and 35% said they pay their credit card balances in full each billing cycle.

Still, 42% of respondents said they had multiple credit cards with a balance, and 31% said they “never” or “almost never” pay their balances in full when they receive their monthly statements.

The new report comes as Americans’ overall credit card debt appears to be back on the rise. Total outstanding credit card debt in the US is expected to reach $900 billion this year, which translates into about $7,800 in credit card debt per household, according to CardHub, another credit card information service.