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One-Fifth of Consumers Use Credit Cards to Live Beyond Means
27 Aug
A national credit counseling firm is sending a message to consumers: Don't get too comfortable. With debt, that is.

The National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC), a non-profit firm that specializes in helping consumers manage debt, says that too many people are comfortable carrying debt and use credit cards to spend more they can afford. They recently conducted a poll via their webpage, asking people how they feel about carrying debt, and they say the result suggests a handful of people are using credit cards to "fund a lifestyle their income can't support."

NFCC spokesperson Gail Cunningham claims that although the majority of people understand the importance of paying off credit cards each month, some consumers need a wake-up call when it comes to carrying debt. But she also cautions that people should not be afraid to use credit cards. The poll found that about 20% of consumers are so wary of debt that they shun credit cards completely—a move that can leave them without sufficient credit history to buy a home or car, or take out a business loan.

The poll was conducted online in July and 1,630 people participated. When asked, "which of the following best describes your attitude toward debt?" people answered:

  • Paying off credit card debt each month is the responsible way to manage finances – 61%

  • I don’t use credit cards at all – 21%

  • Carrying credit card debt is a responsible way to manage my finances – 18%


While more than half of respondents understand how important it is to pay off credit card debt each month, the NFCC says the rest are doing themselves a disservice. Those who believe carrying debt is a responsible way to manage finances may be in for a nasty surprise when they realize how much interest they are paying, while the one-fifth who don’t use credit cards at all could be in a predicament when they need a solid credit history to get a loan.

The NFCC urges people to use credit cards responsibly, which means charging only what they can easily pay off each month, keeping their available credit high and balances low, and making payments on time.

They point out that credit cards have an edge over cash when it comes to security features, convenience, and the ability to build a good credit score.More information is available at the NFCC’s website,debtadvice.org.

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