SAN JOSE, Calif., Dec. 4, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- myFICO, the consumer division of FICO (NYSE:FICO), the company that invented the FICO ® Score, revealed that credit card debt continues to be consumers' biggest financial worry as the new year approaches. According to a November survey, nearly one third of consumers are cutting back on holiday spending and plan to practice conservative credit behaviors this year. Only 20 percent will consider opening new credit card accounts, and approximately 65 percent expect to charge less than $500 on their credit cards – a figure that most consider moderate and within their budget.
Credit Card Use and Repayment Time to Increase in 2012Approximately half plan to use credit cards exclusively for all their holiday purchases, while nearly a third will reserve credit cards only for more expensive gifts. However, 80 percent of consumers will use a fraction of their credit limit – less than 25 percent – which tends to bode well for a consumer's FICO Score. "Keeping revolving credit low can have a positive impact on an individual's credit score, since this accounts for almost 30 percent of a typical score," said Anthony Sprauve, spokesperson for myFICO. Nearly a quarter of respondents will need more than three months to pay off their 2012 holiday expenses, compared to 18 percent in a similar survey conducted in 2010. "While consumers are using credit cards more this year, it's important not to get carried away," said Sprauve. "Payment history is the most influential factor when determining an individual's FICO Score; therefore it's critical to pay at least the minimum amount on all credit cards every billing cycle." Concern about Fraud and Credit Score Impact According to the myFICO holiday spending survey, about 14 percent of respondents indicated they are concerned about the effect of holiday spending on their FICO Score. Additionally, 62 percent are concerned about fraud or identity theft during the holidays; surprisingly, 20 percent of these individuals take no steps to protect themselves.