Having survived most of the holiday frenzy, you’re probably ready for a break. Chances are, your credit cards are, too.
Four out of 5 adults in the Kansas City area who answered a survey in August by Scarborough Research said they had used a credit card in the previous three months — before holiday shopping picked up.
It might be surprising that 18.8 percent said they hadn’t used a credit card that recently. That’s nearly 1 in 5 of the nearly 2,000 people surveyed, all 18 or older, in Kansas City’s 33-county region. Keep in mind, though, that nearly 8 percent of Americans don’t have any sort of bank account.
Among the vast majority in the area who do say “charge it,” a little more than one-third said they had used just one card. One in four said they had used two, and about one in seven had used three. A little less than one in 20 had juggled four or more cards.
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Among card providers, Visa was king; more than 6 in 10 respondents said they had used one.
It’s hard to beat credit cards for convenience — and hard not to overdo it. NerdWallet, a personal finance Website, notes that credit card debt has gone up as most wages haven’t kept up with inflation in recent decades.
Across all households, the site says, the average credit card balance is $5,727. But among the households that don’t pay off their balances right away and carry that credit card debt, it’s a whopping $15,355. And given the cards’ high interest rates, those households’ average annual credit card interest payment is $6,658. That’s 9 percent of an average household income down the drain.
Here’s hoping more of those balances can get paid off in 2016.