Over the next six months, 18% of Americans plan to close a credit card account, according to a new study by Synovate, a Chicago-based market-research division of London-based Aegis Group PLC. In a survey of 1,000 American adults conducted Feb. 23, slightly more than half said they are financially worse off than they were a year ago. Fifty-seven percent of respondents said they believe the economy will get worse, and one-third said they believe the economy has gotten as bad as it will get but will take more than a year to recover. Some 75% of consumers said they mistrust financial institutions. But 81% said they trust their own primary bank, 71% said they trust their credit unions and 68% said they trust their community banks. Besides closing some credit card accounts, 31% of consumers said they are addressing their concerns about financial security by seeking a better job or by cutting spending, 19% said they are saving more to increase their cash reserves, 17% expect to spend some of their cash reserves, and 16% plan to switch their investments into safer options. Approximately 24% said they do not know what to they will do differently or do not plan to change their financial practices because of the economy.

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