Survey: 20% of Americans do not feel they can pay their credit card balances in full

“Surprisingly, cardholders with household incomes between $75,000 and $99,999 were the most likely to say they never paid their credit card bill in full.”

Photo: CafeCredit.com via Flickr

Research has found that 12% of Americans say they’d prefer a new iPhone over a better credit score, but recently updated information from CompareCards.com shows that 20% of Americans don’t think they can pay their credit card balances in full this month.

In terms of how the research was carried out, Qualtrics polled 1,049 Americans who have a minimum of one credit card each.

How Americans feel about paying off their credit cards

Here’s how people responded when asked “how confident” they are that they can pay off their whole monthly credit card balance for each card they have. Their responses were “on a scale of 1 to 5 (5 being very confident, 1 being not at all confident):”

  • 1: 20%
  • 2: 7%
  • 3: 16%
  • 4: 16%
  • 5: 41%

Matt Schulz, Chief Industry Analyst at CompareCards, wrote about the research in the write-up:

“As we continue with the Credit Card Confidence Index, we’ll keep watching to see if these trends change as interest rates continue to rise and Americans’ overall card debt continues to grow.… Meanwhile, our advice for all credit card holders remains the same: Pay your balance off as soon as possible. Life happens, so you may not be able to do it in full every single month, but that’s definitely something to aspire. After all, it’s only going to get more expensive to hold that debt, and good economic times don’t last forever, so there’s no better time than today to knock down that debt,” he wrote.

Here’s how men and women feel about paying off their credit cards

Check how men and women weighed in:

  • “Said they were ‘very confident’ in paying their credit card bills in full this month:” 47% men, 35% women
  • “Said they were ‘not at all confident’ in paying their credit card bills in full this month:” 14% men, 26% women
  • “Said they had paid their card bills in full in each of the past six months:” 38% men, 28% women
  • “Said they had paid their card bills in full once or less in the past six months:” 20% men, 31% women

A monthly credit card payment breakdown

Respondents were asked to recall the past six months where they’ve put their credit card(s) to use, and then say how many months they paid their full balance off. They were also asked to keep in mind, “if you have more than one card, only count months where you paid ALL card balances in full.”

Here’s how people surveyed responded:

  • “6 months:” 33%
  • “5 months:” 12%
  • “4 months:” 11%
  • “3 months:” 10%
  • “2 months:” 8%
  • “1 month:” 7%
  • “None:” 19%

CompareCards.com reported that “surprisingly, cardholders with household incomes between $75,000 and $99,999 were the most likely to say they never paid their card bill in full in the past six months, with 22% in that income bracket making that claim. Even 13% of those making $100,000 or more said they hadn’t paid their credit card bill off in full once in the past six months.”

Jane Burnett|is a reporter for Ladders and can be reached at jburnett@theladders.com.