Two polls suggest consumers might be planning to lean more on credit cards again after overindulging in card use before the recession. And though the economy remains relatively sluggish, fewer Americans seem worried about their personal debt.
Only 16% of consumers plan to cut down on using credit cards this year, compared with 21% who said so last year, suggest new survey data Harris Interactive released Jan. 5.
Harris surveyed 2,237 U.S. adults online between Dec. 5 and Dec.12. Among the respondents, 39% said they plan to reduce their outstanding debts this year, down slightly from 41% who vowed to cut their debt in 2011 and from 45% who planned to do so in 2010.
The findings come on the heels of the release of separate data from an online poll the National Foundation for Credit Counseling conducted that suggest only 6% of consumers plan to reduce their dependence on credit cards in 2012 compared with 7% who indicated they would so a year earlier (see story).
The Silver Spring, Md.-based foundation conducted the poll on its website between Dec. 1 and Dec. 31, drawing participation from 2,319 individuals across the U.S. seeking credit-counseling information. Some 62% of respondents said they planned to decrease debt in 2012, down from 69% who vowed a year earlier to do so.
Consumers also seem to be growing more interested in their credit-risk profiles, which could suggest an appetite for expanding their credit lines, the foundation’s survey findings suggest. Nearly a quarter, or 24%, of respondents said they wanted to improve their credit scores compared with 18% who said so a year earlier.
“If consumers are able to decrease their debt load, continuing to use credit responsibly will help them meet (their credit-score goals),” Gail Cunningham, a spokesperson for the nonprofit consumer credit-counseling organization, said in a Jan. 3 press release.
Consumers continue to place a low priority on saving money for a rainy day, the survey results suggest. But some plan to put away more money in their piggy banks this year than they did in 2011. Eight percent of respondents said they plan to increase their savings in 2012 compared with 7% who said so last year.
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