According to a recent Gallup poll, 43% of American credit-card holders say they always pay off the full balance on their cards each month and another 17% say they usually pay their full balances each month. On the other hand, 25% acknowledge that they usually leave a balance and 12% say they usually pay only the minimum amount due each month (1% pay less than the minimum).
This is in stark contrast to previous years. In April 2001, 41% of credit-card owners said they usually left a credit-card balance at the end of the month, or made the minimum monthly payment or less. This percentage increased to a high of 45% in April 2004 before declining to 40% in 2006 and to 38% in 2008.
Gallup’s survey of credit-card use also shows that American credit-card holders have about four credit cards on average. Many Americans also maintain fairly high credit-card balances. Overall, credit-card holders reported an average balance of $3,848 in April 2008 (though the median, or middle value, is just $200). More importantly, 30% say they have a balance of more than $2,000, with 19% reporting a balance of more than $5,000 and 9% more than $10,000.
So how does your credit card usage compare? Do you pay it off in full each month? (Hint: you should) Or are you paying only enough to cover interest? (Hint: you shouldn’t)