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2012 Holiday Season: The Most Plasticky Ever?

However, it's less good news both for the economy, which could use a real boost from consumer spending, and for credit card companies, which increasingly rely on the interest from their customers' revolving balances to keep their profitability buoyant.

Balance transfer credit cards for the less virtuous

If that Capital One survey turns out to be correct, and only 25 percent of shoppers used credit cards to pay for their seasonal purchases, then the number of consumers with post-holiday financial hangovers may be relatively small this year. But that's not much consolation if you're one of them.

Luckily, there something you can do to reduce your headaches -- think of it as a financial Alka-Seltzer -- but only if your credit score's still good. You can check out balance transfer credit cards, and apply for one.

As we pointed out on this website very recently (see Survey says 'Brits can't be bothered' to compare credit cards), a $5,000 balance on a rewards card that's charging the average rate could cost you close to $1,000 in interest during 2013. Transfer that $5K onto a card that's offering a zero-percent introductory rate for a year (or longer; many do), and you stand to save nearly a grand over the next 12 months.

That surely has to be the easiest way to reduce your credit card debt. Unless, that is, your grumpy, eccentric, bachelor uncle who used to slip $20 bills into your holiday card has recently won the lottery.

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