Money & The EconomyTrending Commentary

65% of Americans Mistakenly Think Carrying A Credit Card Balance Helps Their Score

New Report Finds More than Half Haven’t Checked Their Score in a Month

Americans are making credit card mistakes that are costing them money and impacting their credit scores, according to the latest LendingTree survey. One big reveal was that almost two-thirds of consumers believe carrying a credit card balance helps improve their credit score.

In addition, the survey revealed that more than half of Americans aren’t checking their credit scores or maximizing their credit card rewards, and more than one-third don’t know what their card interest rates are.

Key findings

  • Nearly two-thirds (65%) of Americans believe this costly credit card myth: that carrying a small balance on their credit card each month will improve their credit score. The number is even higher (79%) among Gen Z.
  • More than half of consumers (55%) haven’t checked their credit score in over a month. In addition, 1 in 4 credit cardholders also don’t review their card statements every month.
  • More than a third (35%) of cardholders don’t know their credit card’s interest rate. While that’s not an issue for those who pay their bill in full each month, it’s worth looking into for the 49% of cardholders who generally carry a balance.
  • Women struggle more to pay their credit card bills in full and on time. Men are 27% more likely to pay their credit card balance in full each month (57% versus 45% of women), while women are more likely to have made a late payment (54% versus 44% of men).
  • Credit cards can provide many benefits — but many aren’t taking advantage of them. Specifically, more than half (55%) of card-carrying consumers are missing out on credit card rewards by paying with cards that don’t provide points or cash back, despite the majority (85%) of cardholders having at least one rewards card.

“The myth hurts cardholders because it costs them money. If they’re only carrying a small balance, it may not cost them a huge amount of money, but over time, it adds up,” says Matt Schulz, chief credit analyst at LendingTree. “It’s especially concerning for the youngest generation who could end up carrying a balance for several decades.”

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Carl Fox

Carl Fox is the senior money and finance writer for Conservative Daily News. Follow him in the "Money & The Economy" section at CDN and see his posts on the "Junior Economists" Facebook page.

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