Spreading holiday cheer can lead to credit card fear, but there are ways to manage the situation.
The National Retail Federation expects Americans to spend almost $730 billion during the 2019 holidays, which would be a roughly 4% increase over 2018's result. Consumers may be celebrating lower interest rates. But those lower rates could fuel excessive spending.
A study done partly by LendingTree shows that 40% of American credit card holders feel "very confident" about paying off their monthly statement in November. That's down from 42% in October, but more importantly, it's down from 46% in November of 2018. Only 26% of Americans said they paid off their full balances in the past six months, the lowest percent in the last 15 months and 10 percentage points below November 2018's reading.
"On aggregate, the consumer is in good shape," said LendingTree's Chief Economist, Tendayi Kapfidze. "The consumer is in good shape to manage their credit card debt."
For those who are worried about their debt situations, here are some recommendations from Kapfidze:
"If you find yourself in a position with significant debt, the first thing you want to do is call up your credit card company and see if you can negotiate a lower interest payment, so that wills ave you money in the long run. If that doesn't work, you definitely want to consider maybe a balanced transfer to a lower interest rate credit card or a personal loan and consolidate some of your debt, because personal loans typically have lower interest rates than credit cards.."
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