*Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through a credit card issuer partnership.
This article was last updated May 21, 2019. Terms and conditions may have changed. For the most accurate information, please consult the issuer website.
Two-thirds of credit cardholders are confident they’ll be able to pay their statement balance in full this month, according to a new report from CompareCards.com, and that optimism shows no signs of waning.
Every month, CompareCards surveys cardholders to find out how confident they are that they will be able to pay their card statements in full in that month. In addition, we ask cardholders to look back – thinking of how often they’ve paid in full within the last six months – and forward – how often they expect to pay in full in the next six months. In our latest survey, it’s clear that American credit cardholders’ confidence is still quite high despite recent increases in delinquencies around the nation.
- When it comes to paying their monthly credit card statement balances in full this month, 66% of cardholders rated their confidence level at either a 4 or 5 out of 5. That includes 47% of those who rated their confidence as a 5.
- 36% of cardholders said they paid their monthly statement balances in full in each of the past six months, the highest percentage since January.
- 15% of cardholders said they did not pay their monthly statement balances in full a single time in the past six months, up slightly from last month’s record low of 14%.
- 41% of cardholders said they expect to pay their monthly statement balances in full in each of the past six months, up from 36% in April.
The bottom line: Even as delinquencies grow, confidence remains high.
Despite the economy humming along with low unemployment and rising wages, a trend in credit card late payments is starting to catch people’s attention. Yes, delinquencies are still low by historical standards, and certainly when compared to those seen during the Great Recession, but they are rising nonetheless.
Some increase is to be expected. In good economic times, banks get confident, too, and become more willing to lend to riskier customers. When they do, delinquencies tend to rise. The struggles we’re seeing today are largely confined to folks on the lower end of the credit spectrum, but, as the enormous mountain of credit card debt continues to grow, it’s inevitable that more people will start to fall behind on their payments as well.
How high does the credit card debt mountain have to climb before that happens? It’s hard to say. What is clear is that most credit cardholders’ confidence haven’t been rattled at all by these numbers, and that’s likely a good thing, as long as that confidence doesn’t breed complacency or carelessness.
Again, the best move cardholders can make is to knock their credit card debt down as far as possible, so they can begin to focus on building and fattening their emergency funds. If you have card debt today, you’re probably not putting away enough for tomorrow, and while the future is often impossible to predict, we do know for certain that good economic times eventually end. The people who best weather those tough times are the ones who are best prepared for them. Take steps today to make sure that you are one of those people.
CompareCards by LendingTree commissioned Qualtrics to conduct an online survey of 743 American credit cardholders, with the sample base proportioned to represent the general population. The survey was fielded May 14-15, 2019, and the margin for error for all respondents is +/- 3.6%.