Financial Literacy 2007 - Credit cards
A cartoon man in a suit looking at an uneven scale with a red credit card on the left scale and a yellow credit card on the right
credit cards
What Americans say about credit cards

Interestingly, about the same number of people who said they didn't feel guilty or worry about credit card debt, also said they try to follow a strict budget each month (76 percent). Coincidence? Probably not, says Greg McBride, senior financial analyst at Bankrate.com.

Do you follow a strict monthly budget?

Source: Bankrate.com 2007

People who pay attention to their budgets are less likely to make impulsive credit card purchases. They know to avoid that buy-now, pay-later thinking that credit cards can sometimes cause.

"Sticking to a budget is the best thing you can do to control credit card debt," says Manning.

Americans like their plastic

A third of the people surveyed said they had three or more credit cards and a whopping 23 percent have four or more with nearly 10 percent of those acknowledging they had more than five credit cards. Seventeen percent said they had only one card and the same number of people carry two credit cards. A good chunk of people say they have no credit cards at all (31 percent).
How many cards do you have?

Source: Bankrate.com 2007

Too many cards can be a problem if you don't use them properly, says Jean Chatzky, personal finance expert and author of "Make Money, Not Excuses." "You might be tempted to charge on all of them, and go over what you can really afford," she says.

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Our survey showed the likelihood of having a credit card correlates with income. Forty-seven percent of respondents with a household income of $50,000 or more have at least three credit cards. Consumers with tighter budgets are different. More than 60 percent of respondents with a household income of less than $20,000 don't have any credit cards. "That makes sense when you think about it," says Manning. "But these days even people with higher incomes can't afford the kind of credit card debt they're carrying."

 

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