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Credit Card Confidence Index 12-Month Archive

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Want to talk to Matt about the latest Confidence Index numbers? Email him at [email protected]. You can also reach out via Twitter at @matthewschulz or Instagram at @matt.schulz.

Credit Card Confidence Index: A look at prior months

October 2022: Cardholder confidence unchanged

Credit cardholder confidence remains steady in October, dipping by a single percentage point. But inflation continues to be a challenge for cardholders.

Key findings 

  • Short-term confidence dipped in October, but just slightly: 64% of cardholders say they’re confident in their ability to pay their credit cards’ monthly statement balances in full this month. That’s down a percentage point from September. However, we did see a 3-point increase in those saying they aren’t confident.
  • The biggest reason for not being confident?: You guessed it: inflation. 40% of cardholders who said they weren’t confident this month say it was because inflation had made it harder for them to pay their bills.
  • More cardholders expect it to be rare that they pay their statement balances in full in the next six months: 26% of cardholders say they’ll pay their statement balances in full in one or fewer of the next six months, up from 22% a month ago. That’s the highest percentage since July. Meanwhile, the rate saying they expect to do so in at least five of the next six months was unchanged from September at 51%.

Short-term confidence remains high, though there are signs of trouble

It was a highly volatile spring and summer for cardholder confidence.

  • In April, short-term confidence stood at 65%.
  • By June, that percentage fell to 53%, in what is still the worst month in the four-plus-year history of the Index.
  • However, confidence bounced back quickly, hitting 65% once again in August.

However, those big swings in confidence seem to have subsided. Short-term confidence fell by just a percentage point in October, after being unchanged in September. That leaves short-term confidence at 64%, matching the monthly average for the index’s history.

While the rate of those proclaiming their short-term confidence has stabilized, we have seen an uptick in those saying they aren’t confident. One in 4 (25%) cardholders say that this month, up from 22% in September and 20% in August. (Note: In October, 11% of cardholders say they were neither confident nor unconfident, versus 13% in September and 15% in August.)

Why aren’t they confident? Forty percent of respondents say inflation made it harder for them to pay their bills, while 30% say it was because their income had decreased recently or may soon. In addition, 35% say they aren’t confident because they never pay their monthly statement balances in full and 33% say they need to carry a balance to make ends meet for their family.

Longer-term and short-term confidence outlooks are similar

We define someone as having long-term confidence if they expect to pay their cards’ monthly statement balances in full in five of the next six months. For the second straight month, 51% of cardholders say that. However, the percentage of folks on the other side of the spectrum grew for the second straight month. More than 1 in 4 cardholders (26%) say they expect to pay in full one time or fewer in the next six months. That’s up from 22% in September and 20% in August.

Overall, the 51% and the 26% percentages are above the historical averages for the index.

We don’t ask about reasons for long-term confidence — or lack thereof. However, it’s easy to imagine that ongoing inflation is also a major cause for concern in the long term.

The bottom line: Stabilization continues

November has been a volatile month for the index historically. We’ve averaged a 7-point drop in short-term confidence in the past three years, with the last increase coming in 2018 (an 8-point jump). I think we’ll see a departure from the norm this year.

Yes, there’s the possibility for fireworks in the wake of the midterm elections. Yes, the holiday shopping season will kick into gear. And yes, inflation will likely still be around, and interest rates will likely continue to rise. However, cardholders have been pretty resilient in the past few years in the face of historic challenges.

My longer-term outlook, projecting out into 2023, is that confidence will likely fall, at least a little bit. Rising interest rates and inflation will keep eating away at people’s financial margin for error, leading more people to put more on their credit cards, leading to more missed payments and more struggles with cards overall. Then, if we see unemployment increase, things could get much worse.

For now, however, I think cardholders will continue to handle their business for the most part.

Meanwhile, one of the best things people can do is pay down their card debt as much as possible. Other options include:

  • Reassessing their budget
  • Starting a side hustle
  • Getting a 0% balance transfer credit card or a low-interest personal loan
  • Calling their card issuer and asking for a lower rate

The good news is that you’ve got options. However, it’s ultimately on you to take action and take advantage of them.

October 2022 methodology

LendingTree commissioned Qualtrics to conduct an online survey of 1,206 credit cardholders from Oct. 5-6, 2022. The survey was administered using a nonprobability-based sample, and quotas were used to ensure the sample base represented the overall population. All responses were reviewed by researchers for quality control.

September 2022: Cardholder confidence stabilizes

After three straight months of volatility, credit cardholder confidence stabilized in September.

Key findings

  • Short-term confidence was unchanged from August: 65% of cardholders say they’re confident in their ability to pay their credit cards’ monthly statement balances in full this month. This comes on the heels of three months that featured increases or decreases of at least 6 percentage points.
  • Long-term confidence was largely unchanged, too: In September, 51% of cardholders say they expect to pay their cards’ monthly statement balances in full in five of the next six months — our primary measure for long-term confidence. That’s down just 1 percentage point from August.

Cardholder confidence stabilized in September

It was a wild summer for credit cardholder confidence.

Short-term confidence fell by 10 points in June to 53%, likely driven in part by spiking gas prices and continued inflation growth. That 53% was the lowest percentage in the history of the index, matching a low not seen since September 2019.

Then, confidence bounced back in a big way. Back-to-back increases of 6 percentage points made up for June’s losses and then some, pushing up short-term confidence to 65%. It hadn’t been that high since April. The last time it was higher than that was October 2021, when it hit 67%.

The recent trend of massive month-to-month moves came to an end in September. Short-term confidence was unchanged at 65% and long-term confidence was down just 1 percentage point to 51%.

This newfound stability keeps short-term confidence levels in line with what we’ve seen in the four-year history of the Index. Since its debut in September 2018, a monthly average of 64% of consumers have expressed short-term confidence, versus 22% who’ve said they weren’t confident. In September 2022, those numbers were 65% and 22%, respectively.

The bottom line

The volatility we saw over the summer was unusual for the Confidence Index. We’ve had big monthly swings happen occasionally over the past four years but have rarely seen them happen several months in a row.

I expect the overall trend for the remainder of the year to be downward, though not drastically. As inflation continues to wreck Americans’ budgets and the holiday shopping season draws closer, it seems likely that cardholders may feel a little less secure in their footing in the next few months. Of course, if we see a major increase in unemployment or a renewed spike in gas prices, cardholder confidence may take a bigger hit, but those factors are nearly impossible to predict.

Cardholders’ best move is to continue knocking down their debt, taking advantage of offers for 0% balance transfer credit cards or low-interest personal loans. They can also call their credit card issuer and ask them to lower their interest rate. That works more often than you’d imagine.

As you’re paying down that debt, try to stash some money away in your emergency fund, if at all possible. While rising interest rates are bad news for those with credit card debt, they’re great news for savers seeing the highest rates in years as a result.

And, yes, you should try to save even if it means it’ll take longer for you to pay off that debt. It’s the best way to break the cycle of debt that so many people find themselves facing. Having an emergency fund allows you to pay in cash when that next unexpected expense happens. Without it, the next car repair or trip to the veterinarian after you pay off your credit card balance will just go on that card, putting you right back in debt again.

September 2022 methodology

LendingTree commissioned Qualtrics to conduct an online survey of 1,265 credit cardholders from Sept. 23-24, 2022. The survey was administered using a nonprobability-based sample, and quotas were used to ensure the sample base represented the overall population. All responses were reviewed by researchers for quality control.

August 2022: Credit cardholder confidence continues to rebound

Key findings 

  • Short-term confidence grows again: 65% of cardholders say they’re confident in paying their card’s monthly statement balance in full this month. That’s a 6-point jump from July and the highest rate since April.
  • Long-term confidence climbs, too: 52% of cardholders say they expect to pay their cards’ monthly statement balances in full in at least five of the next six months. That’s a 5-point jump from July and the highest rate since October.
  • Confidence growing across political parties and independents: After cratering in June, Republican, Democrat and independent credit cardholders’ short-term confidence has risen since then by 11, 13 and 14 points, respectively. 67% of Democrats and independents say they’re confident, while 62% of Republicans say the same.

Cardholder confidence bounce back continues

Two months ago, credit cardholders were in a pretty dark place.

Worn down by spiking gas prices and other signs of rampant inflation, cardholder confidence cratered. Short-term confidence — consumers’ belief in their ability to pay this month’s statement balances in full — plunged 10 percentage points to equal the lowest levels in the four-year history of the index. Longer-term confidence — how many times they expect to pay their monthly statement balances in full in the next six months — fell even harder, dropping by 11 percentage points to also match the lowest levels in index history.

Fast forward to today, and things look quite different.

Short-term confidence levels have jumped by 6 points in each of the past two months, erasing all the losses from June (and some). In August, 65% of cardholders say they’re confident, matching April for the highest rate in 2022. (The last time it topped 65% was October, when it reached 67%.)

August’s jump runs counter to recent history. It’s the first time in the index’s four years that short-term confidence has increased in August. The previous three Augusts saw declines of either 1 or 3 percentage points.

Long-term confidence levels have risen even faster, up 8 percentage points in July and another 5 in August. This month’s 53% total is the highest since October.

Why the added confidence? There’s never just one reason, but the recent decrease in gas prices is likely playing a role. Data from AAA shows that gas prices peaked in June and have fallen in the past few months. If that continues, it bodes well for future cardholder confidence.

Confidence growing regardless of political affiliation

As polarized as politics in America is today, we’ve grown to expect massive differences in opinion between Republicans and Democrats. However, when it comes to their confidence in their ability to pay their credit card statement balances in full in a given month, those differences have remained slight recently.

The rebound in cardholder confidence we’ve seen since June’s big drop has cut across political preferences fairly equally. Independents have seen the biggest jump (53% in June to 67% today), but Democrats (54% to 67%) and Republicans (51% to 62%) aren’t far behind.

These similarities are in keeping with recent trends. In 2020 and early 2021, it wasn’t unusual to see double-digit gaps in short-term confidence between Republicans and Democrats, most recently an 11-point gap in January 2021. Since then, however, those differences have been far smaller: Only three times in the following 19 months has the gap reached five points or higher, with the biggest being seven in February 2022.

It bears watching as to whether that gap grows as the November midterm elections near and politics moves more to the forefront of people’s minds. For now, however, different political viewpoints aren’t necessarily leading to wildly different cardholder confidence levels.

The bottom line: Confidence may remain volatile

Last month, I predicted that August wouldn’t bring a big movement in cardholder confidence like we saw in June and July. I was wrong. The jumps in short-term and long-term confidence weren’t enormous, but they were significant.

What will September’s short-term confidence numbers look like? That’s a tough one. Recent history isn’t much help. The past three Septembers have been unchanged (2021), up by 7 points (2020) and down by 6 points (2019).

There are myriad questions, too: Will gas prices keep falling? Is overall inflation slowing? What will be the impact of the president’s announcement of an extension of the student loan payment pause and the forgiveness of thousands of dollars in student loan debt for some? Those are just a few.

Ultimately, my prediction would be for a small increase in confidence. The truth is that gas prices have a major (and maybe even outsized) impact on the way people perceive the economy and even their own personal financial situation. If those continue to fall, that means extra money in people’s wallets, making it easier to pay their card bills.

As always, knocking down high-interest debt such as credit card balances is one of the best things you can do for yourself in uncertain economic times. Low-interest personal loans and 0% balance transfer credit cards can be great tools to help you.

August 2022 methodology

LendingTree commissioned Qualtrics to conduct an online survey of 1,250 credit cardholders from Aug. 12-18, 2022. The survey was administered using a nonprobability-based sample, and quotas were used to ensure the sample base represented the overall population. All responses were reviewed by researchers for quality control.

July 2022: Cardholder confidence bounces back

Credit cardholder confidence rebounded in July, rising 6 percentage points from June’s nearly four-year low.

Key findings 

  • Short-term confidence somewhat rebounds: 59% of cardholders say they’re confident in paying their card’s monthly statement balance in full this month. That’s a 6-point jump from June’s record low but is still the second-lowest rate since November 2021.
  • Long-term confidence bounces back more strongly: 47% of cardholders say they expect to pay their cards’ monthly statement balances in full in at least five of the next six months. That’s an 8-point jump from June’s record low, though it remains the second-lowest rate since November 2021.
  • Men drove July’s rebound: The percentage of men expressing short-term confidence in July grew 11 points from the prior month to 71%. Meanwhile, the percentage of women saying the same grew by just 2 points to 47%. That pushed the confidence gap between the genders to 24 percentage points, matching the gap in January 2020 — the biggest in the nearly four-year history of the Confidence Index.

Short-term, long-term confidence rebound — but not fully

To recap, June was a historic month for the Confidence Index. Both short-term and long-term confidence levels experienced their biggest monthly declines and dropped to their lowest levels in the index’s nearly four-year history.

Heading into July, the question was on the horizon: Were these declines the beginning of a trend or just a blip? For now, at least, the answer appears to be the latter.

Short-term confidence jumped by 6 points and long-term confidence by 8 points in July. Those increases eclipsed some of June’s big declines — but not all of them.

July’s short-term confidence rate was below 60% for the second straight month and just the third month since December 2019. Meanwhile, long-term confidence sat at its second-lowest level since November 2021.

That means there’s room to grow. The new question, however, is whether July’s growth will continue into August. That’s not clear, but the news may not be great if history is any indicator. Short-term confidence has fallen, at least slightly, in each of the past three Augusts, while long-term confidence has dipped in two of the past three.

Gender gap spikes again as men drive July rebound

The gender gap is nothing new in the Confidence Index. Since the index debuted in September 2018, the percentage of men saying they’re confident in paying their credit card’s monthly statement balance in full that month has never been fewer than 7 points higher than the percentage of women saying the same. In fact, the gap has been in the single digits only eight times in almost four years.

Even by those standards, however, July is different.

More than 7 in 10 men (71%) expressed short-term confidence in July, compared with just 47% of women. That 24-point gap matches the one in January 2020 — the biggest since we began tracking in September 2018 and a 9-point increase from June.

That increase is significant, but it continues a trend in recent months. The gap between the percentage of confident men and women hasn’t decreased since February.

  • February 2022: Gender gap was 10 points
  • March: 13 points
  • April: 14 points
  • May: 14 points
  • June: 15 points
  • July: 24 points

That’s a troubling trend. I don’t expect the gap to widen in the coming months, simply because it’s already so high. However, I don’t expect it to drop into the single digits anytime soon either.

The bottom line: Smaller changes likely ahead

After two straight months of big swings, I’m not expecting a third. Neither an increase nor a decrease in confidence next month would surprise me greatly — though the past three Augusts have seen at least a small decrease in short-term confidence — but another large move in either direction would.

In the next six months to a year, I expect the overall trend in short-term confidence to be downward. Consumers are facing too many headwinds, such as higher credit card balances, constantly rising interest rates and rampant inflation, not to be affected at least somewhat.

This doesn’t mean I expect delinquencies to rise dramatically or confidence to plunge. It just means that people’s financial margin for error may shrink in the coming months. When that happens, more people may start paying most of their credit card statement balances each month instead of all of them. When that happens, confidence gets a little weaker.

In any case, a cardholder’s best move is to pay down their debts as soon as possible. Whether that’s done by calling their card issuer and asking for a lower APR, opening a new 0% balance transfer credit card, getting a low-interest personal loan or consulting a credit counselor, it’s important to start taking those steps today. That credit card debt will only get more expensive if ignored, and that’s the last thing anyone needs.

July 2022 methodology

LendingTree commissioned Qualtrics to conduct an online survey of 1,293 credit cardholders from July 8-15, 2022. The survey was administered using a nonprobability-based sample, and quotas were used to ensure the sample base represented the overall population. All responses were reviewed by researchers for quality control.

June 2022: Confidence plunges to 4-year low

Credit cardholder confidence crashed in June — matching its lowest level since tracking began in 2018 — as Americans continue to wrestle with inflation.

Just 53% of cardholders say they’re confident they can pay their credit cards’ monthly statement balances in full this month. That’s down 10 percentage points from May, matching the biggest monthly decline in the nearly four-year history of the Confidence Index.

Key findings 

  • Short-term confidence dropped from 63% to 53%, matching the lowest percentage since tracking began in 2018. The 10-point decline also matches the biggest monthly drop, tying with November 2020.
  • Long-term confidence plunged from 50% to 39%, which also matches its lowest percentage in the index’s nearly four years. It’s also the biggest monthly decrease since tracking began.
  • Significant declines were seen across many demographics. Women and men saw short-term confidence levels fall 11 and 10 points, respectively. Gen Zers, millennials and Gen Xers saw double-digit declines in short-term confidence — and it even cut across political parties.

Short-term and long-term confidence plunge

This has been a month like none we’ve ever seen since the Confidence Index began in September 2018.

It’s not the first June in which we’ve seen confidence drop significantly — there was a 5-point drop last year and a 4-point decline in 2019 — but we haven’t seen something quite like this:

  • Short-term confidence at 53%: That’s the lowest since the tracker began, tied with September 2019. Only two other times since then has short-term confidence fallen below 60%: 58% in November 2019 and November 2021.
  • 10-point monthly decrease in short-term confidence: This equals the biggest decline on record, matched only by the November 2020 drop amid the chaos of one of the most contentious presidential elections in our nation’s history. However, that drop was from a record-high confidence level of 74%.
  • Long-term confidence falls to 39%: Fewer than 4 in 10 cardholders expect to pay their credit cards’ monthly statement balances in full five or more times in the next six months — our measure of long-term confidence. November 2019 is the only other month where long-term confidence dipped below 40%.
  • 11-point monthly decrease in long-term confidence: This is the biggest monthly drop since the index began. The biggest dip had been 8 points in November 2021.

These numbers clearly paint a gloomy picture of cardholders’ current beliefs. However, it’s worth noting that previous large monthly declines have always been followed by a rebound the next month. Short-term confidence rose by 5 points in December 2020 after falling by 10 points in November. Long-term confidence went up by 5 points in December 2021 after plunging by 8 in November that year. This bodes well for July’s Confidence Index — however, a bounce-back month is anything but guaranteed.

Big decreases seen across multiple demographics

No specific demographics were responsible for the massive decrease we saw this month. Rather, it cut across lines of gender, age and — something that seems increasingly rare in today’s polarized America — political party.

Short-term confidence fell:

  • 11 points among women and 10 points among men
  • 14 points among Gen Zers (ages 18 to 25), 12 points among millennials (ages 26 to 41) and 10 points among Gen Xers (ages 42 to 56)
  • 15 points among Republicans, 10 points among Democrats and 8 points among independents

That sort of broad decrease is eye-opening. The question is whether this gloom is a one-month anomaly — or if it’s a sign of a marked change among credit cardholders who’ve generally been resilient and confident in recent years, even through the darkest periods of the pandemic.

The bottom line: Expect at least a small bounce back next month

I suspect credit cardholder confidence will trend down over the next several months. With rampant inflation and steadily rising interest rates — to name a few — there are many headwinds facing cardholders as we head into the second half of 2022.

I don’t expect massive decreases like we saw in June to continue, however. For example, I expect confidence to increase next month, in part because we’ve historically seen confidence bounce back after significant declines in recent years.

A 3- to 5-point jump next month wouldn’t surprise me, though a small decrease wouldn’t shock me either. We’re in a very volatile time economically right now, and anyone who tells you they know what to expect in the next few months is likely either lying or wrong.

Your best move is to knock down your debt as best you can. The Federal Reserve is likely to raise rates at least a few more times in the coming months, meaning your credit card debt will only get more and more expensive. To combat that, consider getting a 0% balance transfer credit card or a low-interest personal loan. Both can help you keep rising interest rates at bay — though you’ll likely need good credit to get the best 0% balance transfer card offers.

June 2022 methodology

LendingTree commissioned Qualtrics to conduct an online survey of 1,466 credit cardholders from June 10-14, 2022. The survey was administered using a nonprobability-based sample, and quotas were used to ensure the sample base represented the overall population. All responses were reviewed by researchers for quality control.

May 2022: Cardholder confidence ticks lower

Credit cardholder confidence dipped in May as Americans continue to wrestle with rising inflation.

While short-term confidence is down just 2 percentage points from April, it’s down 7 percentage points year over year. Longer-term confidence is also down slightly.

Key findings 

  • Short-term confidence dipped by 2 percentage points. 63% of Americans are confident they can pay the monthly statement balances on all their credit cards in full this month, down from 65% in April. However, the dip is far steeper compared to May 2021, when 70% of cardholders said they were confident.
  • Longer-term confidence dipped, too, but only by a percentage point. The longer-term look — which asks people how often they’ll pay their statement balances in full in the next six months — is at 50%, down from 51% in April. It’s down even further from 53% a year ago.
  • Inflation is playing an increasingly bigger role. Among those who say they expect to pay their credit card monthly statement balance in full in three or fewer of the next six months, 35% cite inflation. That’s up 5 percentage points from April and 8 percentage points from March.

Short-term, long-term confidence see slight monthly dips

Nearly two-thirds of credit cardholders (63%) say they expect to pay their credit cards’ monthly statement balances in full this month — that’s down from 65% in April. That small dip continues an up-and-down trend dating back to October 2021. Since then, every monthly decline has been followed by a monthly increase and then a decline and so on.

Looking further back, however, we see bigger differences. Today’s confidence level, while just slightly lower than the 64% average seen across the nearly four-year history of the Confidence Index, is 7 percentage points lower than a year ago. In May 2021, 70% of cardholders said they were confident — one of just four times cardholder confidence reached 70% or higher. (The all-time high was 74% in October 2020.)

Longer-term confidence – based on respondents’ expectations of how often they’ll pay their statement balances in full in the next six months – is down, too, though to a lesser degree. Half (50%) of respondents expect to pay their bill in full at least five times in the next six months — a percentage point lower than in April and 3 percentage points lower than in May 2021.

Historical data indicates we shouldn’t be surprised by these dips. Short-term confidence has fallen in May in three of the four years of the Confidence Index, while long-term confidence has done so twice, including the past two years.

Inflation plays a leading role

Not surprisingly, the rapid growth of inflation is having a significant effect on credit cardholders around the U.S. Among those who say they expect to pay their credit card monthly statement balances in full in three or fewer of the next six months, about one-third (35%) blame inflation.

This is the third month in which we’ve included that as an option in our survey. The percentage choosing it has risen each month — it began at 27% in March, rising to 30% in April and 35% this month.

Overall, it’s the second most common response among those not confident. The most common: the balance was just too large to pay in full, chosen by 43% of respondents.

The bottom line: Not expecting huge Confidence Index shifts in near future

Inflation is rampant. Interest rates are rising, and so is consumer debt.

Even with all that, Americans are generally feeling good about their ability to pay their bills. In many cases, they’re even thriving. New data from the Federal Reserve shows 68% of adults in October and November 2021 said they could cover a $400 emergency expense with cash, up from 50% in 2013. Now, a lot has happened since the end of 2021, and it’s likely that many Americans don’t feel quite as good about their financial situation as they did mere months ago. However, the data shows that many Americans came into the year feeling unusually good about their finances.

Knowing that, I don’t expect a huge change in consumers’ perspectives in the next couple of months. I believe we’ll see another small decrease in June as high inflation and rising interest rates take a bigger and bigger toll on consumers amid summer spending. However, given that we’ve seen confidence levels alternate between up and down each month since last fall, a minor increase wouldn’t come as a great shock.

Regardless of what happens, the best thing a cardholder can do is focus on paying down any card debt they may have:

  • Consider a 0% balance transfer credit card or a low-interest personal loan.
  • Think about asking your card issuer for a lower interest rate. (70% of people who ask get one, though far too few people ask.)
  • Consider contacting an accredited nonprofit credit counselor to help you manage your situation if your struggle is more dire.
  • Taking some sort of step is vital. Your credit card debt is only going to get more expensive in the coming weeks and months, so it’s up to you to take whatever steps you can to get it under control.

May 2022 methodology

LendingTree commissioned Qualtrics to conduct an online survey of 1,559 credit cardholders from May 6-10, 2022. The survey was administered using a nonprobability-based sample, and quotas were used to ensure the sample base represented the overall population. All responses were reviewed by researchers for quality control.

April 2022: Cardholder confidence jumps

Credit cardholder confidence jumped in April, despite rising interest rates and surging inflation. It’s the fourth straight April without a decrease in confidence.

The most likely reason? Tax refunds.

Key findings

  • Short-term confidence jumps. 65% of cardholders said they were confident in paying their statement balances in full this month, a 4-percentage-point increase from March and the highest total since October 2021.
  • Longer-term confidence grew, too. 51% of cardholders expect to pay their cards’ statement balances in full in at least five of the next six months, also the highest percentage since October 2021.
  • Political views coloring cardholders’ confidence. 67% of Democrats were confident in paying their statement balances this month, versus 65% of Republicans. In the past 17 months, dating back to December 2020, Republicans have shown more short-term confidence just four times. In the 12 months before that, it happened 10 times.

Short-term confidence jumps

Inflation is at its highest level in decades and climbing. Credit card interest rates are rising and aren’t going to stop anytime soon. At the same time, credit cardholder confidence is also on the rise, hitting heights not seen since October.

We were surprised at first, too — that is, until we looked at our historical data from the four-year history of the Confidence Index. What we found is that short-term cardholder confidence just doesn’t fall in April. The onset of a pandemic couldn’t change that in 2020 — neither could inflation, rising interest rates nor anything else that we’ve faced in the past four years.

  • April 2022: Up 4 points to 65%
  • April 2021: Up 5 points to 71%
  • April 2020: Unchanged at 64%
  • April 2019: Up 3 points to 67%

So what’s happening? Tax refunds.

Most Americans get refunds, and they’re often the biggest windfall the average person gets during the year. That’s certainly true this year, as tax refunds are reportedly estimated to be up more than 10% higher than in the previous one. That extra bump helps give folks more of a financial cushion this time of year than what they’d normally face, and many Americans put that windfall to good use by increasing their savings or paying down credit card balances and other debts.

The confidence growth showed across many different demographic groups, though Generation X saw a bigger bump than most: 58% of Gen X cardholders were confident this month, up from 48% in March. That’s a 10-point jump, though Xers’ confidence level is still the lowest level of any age group.

Longer-term confidence grew, too

Looking over the next six months, cardholders’ confidence remains high. Just more than half of cardholders (51%) said they expect to pay their monthly statement balances in full in at least five of the next six months. That’s up 2 points from March and is also the highest number since October.

As with short-term confidence, this keeps with patterns we’ve seen in previous years — it’s the third straight April in which we’ve seen a month-to-month growth in confidence. (We did see a decline once — a 1-point drop in April 2019, which was just the second month in which we asked about long-term confidence.)

However, the growth in long-term confidence was just 2 points, half of the growth seen in short-term confidence. That could indicate that the arrival of the new tax refund is making people feel good about where things stand right now, but its impact could be short-lived.

Political views coloring cardholders’ confidence

By and large, cardholders are confident across the board, but there are definite disparities among different groups. For example, we’ve written a lot about the gender gap – how men are typically at least 10 points more likely than women to say they’re confident in paying their credit card bills in full. That’s been consistent through the nearly four years in which we’ve done the Confidence Index.

Not surprisingly, there’s also a significant gap depending on your political party preference. Right now, Democrats are somewhat more confident than Republicans when it comes to paying their credit card bills. However, that hasn’t always been the case: In fact, it completely flipped once it became clear that the party controlling the White House was going to change.

In the past 17 months dating back to December 2020 – the month after Election Day – Democrats have been more confident 11 times. Republicans have only been that way four times, and twice the confidence levels were equal.

In the 12 months before, from December 2019 through November 2020, Republicans were more confident 10 times, with Democrats being more so just twice.

The bottom line

I expect a slight decrease in confidence next month. The impact of the larger-than-usual tax refunds will likely continue to prop up confidence numbers for a few months, but it can only do so much. The grim reality is that life in 2022 is getting more and more expensive by the day, and things aren’t likely to get better anytime soon.

An extension of the student loan payment moratorium will help a great deal, but inflation isn’t expected to stop growing in the coming months and interest rates are almost certain to keep rising significantly throughout the year, making for a very difficult situation for folks who are carrying large credit card balances and other types of debt.

If you’re struggling with debt, now is the time to consider a new 0% balance transfer credit card. These cards can dramatically reduce the interest you pay over the lifetime of the balance and shorten the payoff period as well. If you have good credit, there are many of these cards available right now.

The problem is that as interest rates rise, it becomes more expensive for banks to offer these 0% card deals. It’s possible – maybe even likely – that we’ll see these deals become less common in coming months, or that the card offers become less appealing (think shorter 0% introductory periods and higher balance transfer fees). That’s why it is so important to act sooner rather than later.

April 2022 methodology

LendingTree commissioned Qualtrics to conduct an online survey of 1,632 credit cardholders from April 4-8, 2022. The survey was administered using a nonprobability-based sample, and quotas were used to ensure the sample base represented the overall population. All responses were reviewed by researchers for quality control.

March 2022: Cardholder confidence dips

Credit cardholders felt less confident about paying their cards’ monthly statement balances in full in March than they have in any month since November, though confidence levels vary a great deal depending on your age.

Key findings

  • Short-term confidence falls: 61% of cardholders said they were confident that they could pay their statement balances in full this month, the lowest percentage since it was 58% in November 2021. Before that, the last time it was lower than 61% was in November 2019.
  • Longer-term confidence dipped as well, though not all the news is bad: Just 49% of cardholders expect to pay their cards’ statement balances in full in at least five of the next six months, the lowest percentage since November 2021. However, the percentage of cardholders who expect to pay in full in each of the next six months is rising, reaching levels not seen since October 2021.
  • Big disparity in short-term confidence by age: 72% of Gen Z cardholders said they were confident, while just 48% of Gen X said the same. Meanwhile, 37% of Gen X cardholders said they were not confident versus just 10% of Gen Z.

Short-term confidence falls

This is the first March in the history of the Index, which debuted in September 2018, in which we’ve seen short-term confidence fall.

In the three previous Marches, short-term confidence — the percentage of cardholders who said they are confident in paying their cards’ monthly statement balance in full this month — grew by an average of 3 percentage points. That includes a 6-percentage point jump in March 2019.

This month, however, things played out differently. Short-term confidence fell by 2 percentage points to 61%, the lowest percentage seen since November 2021. That’s well below the average for the previous 12 months (65%) and for the history of the Index (64%).

We’re also seeing more people saying they are not confident. 26% of cardholders said so, the highest percentage since November 2021. Before that, the last time that percentage was that high was September 2019.

Longer-term confidence dips, too, though not all the news is bad

Looking out further, just fewer than half of cardholders (49%) expect to pay their cards’ statement balances in full in at least five of the next six months — our primary measure of long-term confidence. That is the lowest percentage since November 2021 and marks the third time in the past five months that this number has fallen below 50%.

Still, overall, cardholders’ long-term confidence hasn’t taken as significant a hit as their short-term confidence. The 49% number is a bit lower than the average for the previous 12 months (51%), but it is higher than Index’s historical long-term average of 47%, which we began tracking in March 2019.

Plus, the number of cardholders saying they plan to pay their statement balance in full in every one of the next six months (42%) is actually the highest it has been since October 2021.

Big disparity in confidence by age

Over the years, we’ve talked a great deal about the gender gap when it comes to credit card confidence. Men tend to be at least 10 percentage points more likely to say they’re confident about paying their statement balances in full. That’s the case again this month:

  • Confident: Men (67%) versus women (54%)
  • Not confident: Men (20%) versus women (31%)

We also see significant differences based on the cardholder’s age. For example, in March, 72% of Gen Z cardholders expressed short-term confidence versus just 48% of those in Gen X. (Baby boomers and millennials are in between, at 65% and 64%, respectively.) That’s a significant gap.

Throughout the past year, an age gap has persisted, though it hasn’t typically been as large as the one we see this month — and we haven’t always seen Gen Z come out on top.

Here are the average short-term confidence levels by age group for the past 12 months, including March 2022:

  • Baby boomers: 69% confident
  • Gen Z: 68% confident
  • Millennials: 65% confident
  • Gen X: 58% confident

While baby boomers and Gen Z have each had their turns as the most confident age group, there’s been no such change at the bottom of the list. Gen X has been the least confident for 11 straight months, dating back to May 2021.

The bottom line

I expect cardholder confidence to continue to dip slightly in April. It would be the first April since the Index began in late 2018 to see a drop, but I think it will probably happen.

Why? Inflation is the biggest culprit. Everything is costing more, and that puts a strain on cardholders’ budgets. When that happens, people tend to lean on credit cards, and when people lean on credit cards more, it tends to get harder for them to pay their balances in full. Factor in higher interest rates and bigger spending as COVID-19 cases wane throughout the country, and the formula is there for lower cardholder confidence.

Tax refunds will help. So will rising wages and a continued halt to federal student loan payments. However, rapidly increasing overall costs seem to be setting the stage for a decrease in cardholder confidence in the next few months.

I don’t anticipate a huge collapse of confidence, barring an unexpected spike in COVID-19 cases or unemployment, but I do think confidence will tick lower.

The best move for those struggling with debt is to reduce your interest payments by getting a 0% balance transfer credit card or a low-interest personal loan. These tools can make a huge difference in the amount of interest you pay and the time it takes to pay down your balances.

March 2022 methodology

LendingTree commissioned Qualtrics to conduct an online survey of 1,218 credit cardholders on March 10-15, 2022. The survey was administered using a nonprobability-based sample, and quotas were used to ensure the sample base represented the overall population. All responses were reviewed by researchers for quality control.

February 2022: Cardholder confidence up slightly

Credit cardholder confidence ticked higher in February — and if history is any indicator, that growth is likely to continue.

Key findings

  • Short-term confidence rises slightly: 63% of cardholders said they were confident in their ability to pay their cards’ monthly statement balance in full this month, up a percentage point from January.
  • Longer-term confidence edged higher, too: 50% of cardholders said they expect to pay their cards’ monthly statement balance in full in at least five of the next six months — that’s up from 49% in January.
  • Historical trend points to continued growth: Cardholder confidence has increased in March in all three years of the Confidence Index, rising by an average of 3 percentage points per year.

Cardholder confidence up slightly, both in the short and long term

Cardholders’ short-term and long-term confidence reached their highest levels since October. In February, both were up just a percentage point from January.

When looking at those who were very confident about this month’s bills (rating their confidence as a 5 out of 5), the growth was a bit more significant, as 49% of cardholders said they were very confident. That’s up 2 percentage points, marking the third straight monthly increase.

Meanwhile, only 17% were not at all confident (rating their confidence as a 1 out of 5), the lowest percentage since October.

Women’s confidence, in particular, has improved: The percentage of women saying they were not confident dropped for the third straight month, falling 3 percentage points to 27%.

However, when looking at the long term, the picture is a little murkier overall:

  • 41% of cardholders said they expect to pay their monthly statement balance in full in each of the next six months, up 2 percentage points — the highest total since October.
  • Just 16% of cardholders said they expect to do so in none of the next six months — that’s down 1 percentage point. The last time that number was lower was in September 2021.
  • However, 25% of cardholders expect to pay their monthly statement balances in full in just one or fewer of the next six months. That’s the second highest percentage in the last 18 months, behind only 27% in November 2021.

Historical trends point to continued growth

In the history of the Confidence Index, February has been an up-and-down month when it comes to cardholder’s short-term confidence:

  • 2019: Down 9 percentage points from 67% to 58%
  • 2020: Up 1 percentage point from 62% to 63%
  • 2021: Down 4 percentage points from 67% to 63%
  • 2022: Up 1 percentage point from 62% to 63%

The good news, however, is that the trends are far clearer for March. Cardholder confidence has grown from February to March in each of the past three years, rising an average of 3 percentage points per year.

  • 2019: Up 6 percentage points from 58% to 64%
  • 2020: Up 1 percentage point from 63% to 64%
  • 2021: Up 3 percentage points from 63% to 66%

That bodes well for cardholder confidence in the near future — though continued growth in confidence is anything but a sure thing.

The bottom line

The next few months will likely be a volatile time for credit cardholders.

Tax returns will give some a boost, while others will struggle to pay what they owe. Credit card interest rates are almost certain to rise in March due to pending Fed rate decisions, though it’s unclear by how much. Federal student loan payments may start coming due in May — or they might not. The omicron variant appears to be waning, but others might emerge. And those are just a few of the unknowns.

I believe that cardholder confidence will likely be up slightly again next month — but after that, it’s anyone’s guess.

The best thing for any cardholder to do is make sure they pay down their debt as soon as possible. Take advantage of 0% balance transfer credit cards that offer up to 21 months interest-free on transferred balances. And even if your credit standing won’t allow you to qualify for one of these cards, you still have options. Consider getting a low-interest personal loan, calling your card issuer to ask for a lower interest rate or reaching out to a reputable nonprofit credit counselor.

Any of these actions can be a great step in the right direction in the battle against credit card debt. The most important thing is to do something, even if it’s small. While we don’t fully know what the future holds, we do know that it’s likely that your credit card debt will only get more expensive this year — so now is a great time to act.

February 2022 methodology

LendingTree commissioned Qualtrics to conduct an online survey of 9`4 credit cardholders, conducted Feb. 7-10, 2022. The survey was administered using a non-probability-based sample, and quotas were used to ensure the sample base represented the overall population. All responses were reviewed by researchers for quality control.

January 2022: Cardholder confidence stable to start 2022

Credit cardholder confidence was little changed in January, though it started the new year well below where it stood at the beginning of 2021.

Key findings

  • Short-term confidence down year over year: 62% of cardholders were confident in their ability to pay their credit cards’ monthly statement balance in full this month. That’s down only 1 percentage point from December, though it is 5 percentage points lower than January 2021.
  • Longer-term confidence largely unchanged: 49% of cardholders said they expect to pay their cards’ monthly statement balance in full in at least five of the next six months. That’s 1 percentage point lower than both last month and January 2021.
  • Gender gap remains strong: Women were 12 percentage points more likely than men to say they weren’t confident in their ability to pay their statement balances in full this month. That marks the third straight month with a double-digit gap, following a stretch of eight months in which it only happened twice.

Short-term confidence flat month to month but down year over year

The beginning of the new year didn’t do much to buoy cardholder confidence — 62% of cardholders said they were confident in January, compared to 63% who said so in December. On the flip side, 25% said they weren’t confident, up from 23% in the previous month.

However, when compared to January 2021, there’s a more significant change: Short-term confidence was 5 percentage points higher then at 67%, tied for the third highest percentage for all of 2021.

Historically, January has been a mixed bag for cardholder confidence. We saw significant changes in 2019 and 2021 and little to no change in 2020 and 2022.

Longer-term confidence largely unchanged

There was little movement in longer-term confidence, in comparison with both last month and to January 2021.

The percentage saying they expected to pay in full five or more times in the next six months fell from 50% to 49%, and the percentage saying they expected to pay in full one or fewer times in the next six months fell from 23% to 22%.

Compared with a year ago, little has changed:

  • Those who expect to pay in full 5 or more times: 49% in January 2022, versus 50% in January 2021
  • Those who expect to pay in full 1 or fewer times: 22% in January 2022, versus 21% in January 2021

Gender gap remains strong

Three in 10 women (30%) said they weren’t confident in their ability to pay their card statement balances in full this month, versus just 18% of men who said the same.

That’s a 12-percentage-point gap between men and women — and while that’s just a 3-point decrease from December, it is still significant.

It marks the third straight month in which that gap has been in double digits, including 15 percentage-point gaps in both November and December 2021. That’s a reversal from the previous eight months, in which that gap was 9 or fewer percentage points six times.

When looking at the longer term, this gap shrinks a bit. For example, 20% of women said they won’t pay their statement balance in full a single time in the next six months versus 15% of men — just a 5 percentage-point difference.

The bottom line

I expect cardholder confidence to remain little changed in February.

Sure, the holiday shopping season will be further in the rearview mirror, but inflation likely won’t be. As long as Americans are still battling with higher prices, it’s going to put a strain on their ability to pay their bills.

The view further into the year is cloudier.

The student loan payment moratorium was set to end in February, but has now been extended to May — and who knows if it will get extended further?

The Federal Reserve is also likely to raise interest rates multiple times in 2022, possibly starting as early as March. That means that credit card APRs will go up, too.

Then, of course, there’s the impossible-to-predict pandemic, as well as the 2022 midterm elections heating up.

Given all the uncertainty, the best thing for you to do is take action now to knock down your debt. Apply for a 0% balance transfer credit card or a low-interest personal loan, or ask your card issuer for a lower interest rate. You could also contact a credit counselor. There are plenty of helpful ways out there to do it.

What won’t help, however, is feeling overwhelmed and doing nothing. Take advantage of some of the options that are available to you and start whittling down that debt — you’ll be glad you did.

January 2022 methodology

LendingTree commissioned Qualtrics to conduct an online survey of 1,657 credit cardholders from Jan. 11-14, 2022. The survey was administered using a nonprobability-based sample, and quotas were used to ensure the sample base represented the overall population. All responses were reviewed by researchers for quality control.

December 2021: Confidence rebounds but ends year lower than it began

Key findings

  • Short-term confidence bounces back, but remains down from the start of the year. 63% of cardholders said they were confident in their abilities to pay their cards’ monthly statement balance in full this month. That’s a 5 percentage point jump from November, but well below 67% in January 2021.
  • Longer-term confidence rebounds, too. Half of cardholders said they expect to pay their cards’ monthly statement balance in full in at least five of the next six months — that’s up 5 percentage points.
  • Uneven year ends on a high note. Short-term confidence rose for the second time in three months to end the year. However, confidence fell month to month more than it grew in 2021: It went down in six months, went up in five and was flat once. That’s a big change from 2020, which saw eight increases and just two down months.

Short-term confidence bounces back but remains below yearly average

For the third straight year, cardholders’ short-term confidence grew significantly in December.

  • December 2021: 63%, up from 58%
  • December 2020: 69%, up from 64%
  • December 2019: 62%, up from 58%

However, even with that 5 percentage point increase, cardholders’ confidence was below its average for the year (65.5%), and well below where it stood when the year began (67% in January 2021).

The last time — other than last month — that cardholders’ short-term confidence was lower than it is now was January 2020. That month it was at 62%.

Longer-term confidence rebounds, too

The news is a bit better when looking at the next six months.

As with short-term confidence, we saw an increase in long-term confidence for the third December in a row. Exactly half of cardholders said they expected to pay their credit cards’ monthly statement balances in full at least five times in the next six months.

That’s the third time in the past four months — and the 10th time in 2021 — that at least half of cardholders said so. That’s significant, as that 50% threshold had only been reached three times in 22 months prior to the start of 2021.

Still, the news isn’t all great: December’s number is still well below April’s peak of 56%, and just equal to January 2021.

Uneven year ends on a high note

Short-term cardholder confidence was all over the place in 2021.

After starting the year at 67% in January, confidence slid to 63% in December. It grew just five times — including two of the past three months — while dipping six times and ending unchanged once.

That’s a big change from 2020. Despite the onset of the pandemic, confidence rose from 62% in January 2020 to 69% in December. Short-term confidence rose eight times throughout the year and fell just twice.

The bottom line

While cardholder confidence has moved somewhat predictably in December in recent years, that hasn’t been the case in January:

  • January 2021: 67%, down from 69%
  • January 2020: 62%, unchanged from the previous month
  • January 2019: 67%, up from 61%

That inconsistency makes it tough to get a read on what will happen next month. However, my prediction is a small decrease in short-term confidence.

Blame it on inflation: Higher prices make it harder to stay within your budget, and when people’s budgets are busted, they tend to lean on their credit cards more than they’d like. Plus, there’s also the holiday spending hangover that happens in January.

Another major factor: Starting in February, payments on federal student loans will be required once again.

That’s a big deal — the absence of those monthly payments has made it far easier for people to either stash more money away or to pay down high-interest debt, like credit cards. Once those payments resume, it’s hard to imagine that they won’t have a significant impact on Americans’ abilities to pay the rest of their bills next month and into the future.

These are just a few reasons why people need to focus on paying down their credit card debt. Cardholders with good credit should consider applying for a 0% balance transfer credit card or a low-interest personal loan. Both of those can be great tools for consolidating and refinancing debts — even a small reduction in interest rates can have a significant impact on the amount you pay on your debt and how long it takes to pay it off.

You can also choose to call your credit card issuer and ask for a lower interest rate on your credit card. Around 80% of people who ask for one get one, according to a 2021 LendingTree survey, but far too few people ask. Now, they’re not going to reduce your APR to zero the way a balance transfer credit card might, but decreases of 5 to 10 percentage points do happen, and they can make a major difference.

Whatever you choose to do, the important thing is to take action of some kind. No one cares as much about your money as you do, so make sure that you take whatever steps are necessary to protect yours.

December 2021 methodology

LendingTree commissioned Qualtrics to conduct an online survey of 1,620 credit cardholders from Dec. 9-13, 2021. The survey was administered using a nonprobability-based sample, and quotas were used to ensure the sample base represented the overall population. All responses were reviewed by researchers for quality control.

November 2021: Cardholder confidence sinks to 2-year low

Credit cardholder confidence sank in November to the lowest level seen in two years, spurred by a sharp drop among women cardholders.

Key findings

  • Short-term confidence plunged in November. Just 58% of cardholders said they were confident in their ability to pay their monthly statement balances in full this month — the lowest since November 2019. On the flip side, 28% said they were not confident — the highest since September 2019.
  • Longer-term confidence fell as well. The percentage of cardholders who expect to pay their monthly statement balances in full five times or more in the next six months dropped to 45% — the lowest since July 2020. Meanwhile, 27% of cardholders said they expect to pay in full once or fewer times in the next six months — the highest since November 2019.
  • Women’s short-term confidence matches record low. Just 48% of women were confident in paying their statement balances in full this month, tying the record low set in September 2019.

Short-term confidence plunged in November

November has proven to be a tough month for cardholder confidence, and 2021 is no exception.

  • November 2021: Down from 67% to 58%, the lowest total since November 2019. The 9-percentage-point decrease equals the second biggest month-to-month decrease in Confidence Index history
  • November 2020: Down from record high 74% to 64%. The 10-percentage-point decrease is the largest monthly decrease in Confidence Index history
  • November 2019: Down from 60% to 58%. The 2-percentage-point drop was small, but it was the last drop we would see until August 2020.

Cardholder confidence has jumped in November just once. In November 2018, the third month in the index’s existence, confidence shot up 8 percentage points from 56% (which is still the second-lowest percentage in Index history) to 64%.

Another reason for concern: The percentage of cardholders saying they’re not confident shot up 8 percentage points to 28%. That’s the highest percentage since September 2019 and the monthly increase equals the biggest ever, also set in September 2019.

Longer-term confidence fell as well

Cardholders’ concerns aren’t just about this month, though. However, these long-term concerns also follow the historical pattern that we’ve seen in short-term confidence.

This is the third-straight November in which we’ve seen:

  • A decrease in the percentage of those who say they’ll pay their monthly credit card statement balances in full at least five times in the next six months.
  • An increase in the percentage of those who say they’ll pay their monthly credit card statement balances in full one time or less in the next six months.

Still, while the direction of the movement may not be surprising, the size of the change is still significant.

  • 45% said they’d pay in full in at least five of the next six months. That’s down 8 percentage points from October, the biggest monthly drop since we began asking this question in March 2019.
  • 27% said they’d pay in full in just one or fewer of the next six months. That’s up 5 percentage points from October, the biggest monthly increase since November 2020.

Women’s short-term confidence dips to record low

November’s drop in confidence wasn’t exclusive to any one party, gender or other demographic segment. However, especially when it comes to short-term confidence, women saw the biggest declines.

Just 48% of women said they were confident in their ability to pay their cards’ monthly statement balance in full this month. That equals the lowest percentage in the Index’s history, set in September 2019, and marks just the third time ever that women’s confidence levels fell below 50%. (The only other time was in October 2018 when 49% of women said they were confident.)

In contrast, 68% of men said they were confident. That’s still a 5-percentage-point drop, but it leaves men’s confidence numbers at a far higher level than those of women.

At the other end of the confidence scale, the numbers are perhaps even more concerning. While 21% of men say they’re not confident, 36% of women said the same. Both of those numbers are the highest since September 2019, though there is clearly still a gulf in between men’s and women’s views.

  • Women are just 12 percentage points more likely to say they’re confident than to say they’re not confident (48% to 36%). That’s the second-smallest gap ever.
  • Men are 47 percentage points more likely to say they’re confident than to say they’re not (68% to 21%). That is the smallest gap since September 2019.

The bottom line

It’s pretty easy to understand why November would be a difficult month for credit card bills. Holiday shopping is in full swing. People are traveling to see friends and family for Thanksgiving and planning their Christmas travel. We’re throwing parties. We’re stocking up on cold-weather clothing. It all adds up. And those are just a few examples.

Then, when you factor in inflation and the desire among many to do the holidays a little bigger and better this year to make up for the crummy last two years, it is tempting to think that cardholder confidence may continue to fall.

I’m not betting on it.

In each of the last two years, a November dip was followed by a moderate December jump, and I’d expect the same this year.

There’s reason to be skeptical, though. Two years isn’t a huge sample size. Last November and December was an altogether weird period as the nation wrestled with a never-ending election cycle. And December 2018 actually saw a bit of a decrease. But I still expect December’s confidence numbers to come in a little higher than November’s. That’s in part because the extra cash cushion that many Americans still have from the past two years will help more people avoid going into debt this holiday season and keep those who do go into debt from going as far as they otherwise might.

There are also plenty of options available for those who want to tackle their credit card debt. While they were scarce in the pandemic’s early days, 0% balance transfer credit card offers are currently widely available, and come with interest-free periods up to 21 months. (Many cards also come with 0% interest on purchases. That can be helpful during the holiday shopping season.)

Low-interest personal loans can be helpful as well. Don’t expect to find 0% offers with these like you might with a credit card. However, if your credit is good, you might be able to find a personal loan with an APR below what’s offered by your current credit card.

The most important thing is to take some sort of action. No one cares as much about your money as you do, so it is up to you to take the steps necessary to protect it and improve your own situation.

November 2020 methodology

LendingTree commissioned Qualtrics to conduct an online survey of 1,483 credit cardholders from Nov. 3-5, 2021. The survey was administered using a nonprobability-based sample, and quotas were used to ensure the sample base represented the overall population. All responses were reviewed by researchers for quality control.

 

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