According to a survey conducted by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling, consumers are going into 2012 feeling more comfortable about using credit then in the previous year. In their annual poll regarding personal financial resolutions, the NFCC learned that only 6% of respondents are prioritizing decreasing their dependence on credit cards during the New Year as compared to 7% in 2011.
“At first glance, that statistic could appear to be a warning sign of future trouble. However, credit is not the problem. Instead, it is the misuse of credit that leads people into financial distress,” said NFCC spokesperson Gail Cunningham, according to a statement released on the nonprofit consumer credit-counseling organization`s website.
The poll results indicate that 62% of participants cited that decreasing debt was their #1 financial New Year`s resolution for 2012, which seems to indicate that although they may plan to use their plastic as a means of payment for goods and services, they perhaps aren`t too keen on revolving a balance from month to month. That figure is less than last year, when 69% of those polled resolved to reduce their debt load. Nonetheless, Cunningham referred to 62% as “an encouraging statistic.”
However, the American Bankers Association just released data in its Consumer Credit Delinquency Bulletin which revealed that credit card payment delinquencies, in fact, rose slightly in the third quarter of 2011 to 3.25% from 3.22%. The ABA defines “delinquency” as a late payment that is overdue by 30 days or more.
If fewer people intend to concentrate on decreasing their debts this year, the flip side is that more people are interested in increasing their credit score. Some 24% of individuals surveyed professed a desire to boost their credit rating, which may well be an indicator of the increasing importance of credit to many consumers. The previous year saw only 18% of respondents showing the urge to improve their credit score.
The poll results indicate that although many consumers seem to acknowledge the importance of sustained financial responsibility and plan to take action to achieve their goals, not enough are planning to focus on saving during the New Year. A mere 8% of survey participants intend to focus on boosting their savings, up slightly from last year`s 7%.
Cunningham said that “the low priority placed on savings is disturbing.”