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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

November 2021: Cardholder Confidence Sinks To Two-Year Low In November

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.

October 2021: Cardholder Confidence Ticks Higher In October, Though Longer-Term View Is Murky

Credit cardholders’ short-term confidence improved in October, according to a new report from LendingTree.

However, when looking out over the next six months, the picture looks different. We see a growing divide in America, one in which cardholders are either feeling highly confident in their ability to pay their monthly credit card statement balance or not confident at all, with fewer people in-between.

Key findings 

  • Cardholders’ short-term confidence improved in October, inching up from 65% in September to 67% in October, its highest point since May.
  • Longer-term confidence numbers move toward the extremes. The percentage of cardholders who say they’ll pay their credit card’s monthly statement balance in full in at least five of the next six months is rising. However, so is the percentage who say they’ll pay in full just once or less during that period.

Short-term confidence ticks higher

The percentage of cardholders who said they were confident in their ability to pay their credit card’s monthly statement balance in full this month rose 2 percentage points to 67% in October. Though small, that is the first increase since July and only the second since April.

It remains well below last October’s levels, however. In October 2020 — the month before the U.S. presidential election — confidence levels hit a record high of 74%. In the following month, though, confidence plunged by 10 percentage points to 64%. Short-term confidence hasn’t gone above 71% since and has reached 70% or higher only twice (71% in April 2021, 70% in May 2021).

Meanwhile, 20% of cardholders said they were not confident in paying their statement balances in full this month — that’s down a single percentage point from September to its lowest level since July.

Longer-term confidence numbers move toward the extremes

We also ask cardholders how they feel about their ability to pay in full in the coming six months. In October, those views tended toward the extremes:

  • 53% expect to pay in full in at least five of the next six months, equaling the highest percentage since April. (That includes 45% who expect to pay in full in all six months, the highest percentage since we began tracking in March 2019.)
  • 22% expect to pay in full once or less in the next six months, matching the highest percentage since November 2020. (That includes 16% who say they won’t pay in full a single time in the next six months, also the highest since November 2020.)

In short, more people expect to pay their balances in full almost every month, while at the same time, there’s an increase in people who say they will almost never pay their balances in full.

Much has been written about how the pandemic has affected different groups of Americans in completely different ways. Some consumers are flush with cash, having reduced spending and paid down debt during the pandemic. Others, however, have been financially devastated by health issues and job losses, and are worrying if they’ll ever recover.

This unusual split in long-term cardholder confidence likely springs, at least to some degree, from that divide.

The bottom line

Though the pandemic has made everything more difficult to predict, I expect to see cardholder confidence decline next month, in part because that’s what we’ve seen in the two previous Novembers.

We’ve seen it in terms of both short- and long-term confidence, and there’s plenty of reason to believe that we’ll see it again, as illustrated below:

  • October 2020: 74% short-term confidence, 50% long-term confidence
  • November 2020: 64% short-term confidence, 46% long-term confidence
  • October 2019: 60% short-term confidence, 45% long-term confidence
  • November 2019: 58% short-term confidence, 39% long-term confidence

Last year’s drop was unusually huge, likely driven by the chaos surrounding the U.S. presidential election. However, we did see a drop during that time in the previous year, too.

Of course, two years of data is hardly a giant sample size, and three years ago, we actually saw an increase in short-term confidence from October to November. So a decrease is hardly guaranteed, but I think it will happen.

The primary reason? Holiday shopping.

People are shopping earlier this year, allowing more time for delivery as supply-chain issues continue to wreak havoc with retailers. Plus, many Americans will choose to overdo this holiday season a bit to make up for how crummy the past two years have been. Add in inflation, “buy now, pay later” loans and just general pressure to spend, and it is likely that lots of Americans will burn through the extra cash they’ve saved in the past 18 months and spend themselves into a bit of debt. Lower confidence likely then follows.

If you do find yourself in debt, a 0% balance-transfer credit card can work wonders. You’ll likely need at least a decent credit score to qualify for one — but if you do have it, you can move your other balances to the new card and not pay any interest on that balance for a year or more. (Some cards can even go as long as 21 months, just shy of two full years.)

It may seem counterintuitive to tackle credit card debt by getting a new credit card, and it is true that if used unwisely, these cards can just make your debt problem worse. However, if you play by the rules and use these cards sensibly, they can be a powerful tool to use in attacking credit card debt.

October 2021 Methodology

LendingTree commissioned Qualtrics to conduct an online survey of 1,455 credit cardholders from Oct. 15-20, 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.

September 2021: Cardholder Confidence Stays Strong In September

Credit cardholders’ confidence in paying this month’s credit card statement balance stayed strong in September, according to the Credit Card Confidence Index.

Nearly two-thirds of cardholders say they’re confident that they’ll be able to pay their credit cards’ monthly statement balance in full this month. However, when taking a longer-term view, that confidence looks a bit shakier.

Key findings: 

  • Short-term confidence was unchanged in September. 65% of cardholders say they’re confident in paying this month’s balances in full, while 21% say they’re not.
  • The gender gap continued to expand, though. 73% of men were confident, versus 57% of women. That’s the largest gap since February and the fourth time it has grown in the past five months.
  • Mixed signals in long-term confidence. More cardholders say they expect to pay their statement balances in full in all of the next six months. However, more also say they expect to pay in full in none of the next six months.

Short-term confidence unchanged

Cardholders’ confidence has been remarkably stable lately. For the third time in four months, 65% of cardholders expressed confidence in paying this month’s bills. (In July, it ticked up to 66% before dipping back to 65% in August.)

This period follows a volatile stretch from October 2020 to June 2021, in which confidence peaked at 74% and went as low as 63%.

While the percentage of cardholders expressing confidence has been stable, the percentage of those saying they’re not confident has been less so.

This month, 21% of cardholders say that they were not confident, which is unchanged from August. The percentage spiked to 23% in June — the highest level seen in nearly a year — then dipped back down to 16% in July before rising to its current level in August.

Gender gap expands

While overall confidence levels have stayed unchanged, a deeper look shows some major shifts in terms of gender.

Nearly three-fourths of male cardholders (73%) say they were confident in September, while just 57% of women say the same.

That’s the highest percentage since May for men and the lowest since February for women. Add it all up and it gives you a 16-percentage-point gap, the highest level since February.

Mixed signals in long-term confidence

When consumers look out over the next six months, things get murkier.

For example, 43% of cardholders say they expect to pay their cards’ monthly statement balance in full in all six of the next six months — that’s the highest since May.

However, 15% say they expect to pay in full in zero of the next six months, equalling the highest percentage since November.

As you move in from the extremes, though, more negatives emerge.

For example, the percentage of cardholders who expect to pay in full in more than half of the next six months (meaning at least four times) is 59%, which equals the lowest since November 2020.

The good news, however, is that 59% is still above the average percentage (57%) since we began tracking this number in March 2019.

The bottom line

I don’t expect this stability to last much longer.

In two of the past three years, we’ve seen short-term cardholder confidence rise between September and the end of the year. (The only exception: 2020, which proved more volatile than usual, thanks in large part to the presidential election.)

My gut tells me that confidence will likely dip between now and the end of the year, though. Yes, rising COVID-19 cases have slowed spending and forced people to dial back travel plans and other activities, allowing them perhaps to save a bit more like they did earlier in the pandemic. However, I think that the costs of the holiday season, combined with inflation and some other factors, will eat into cardholder confidence and help it inch lower.

There’s no reason to think that confidence will fall in a big way, though, and it is certainly possible that things end up moving in a positive direction instead. That’s especially true if we begin to see a significant decrease in COVID-19 cases around the country. Then, all bets are off.

Still, I feel a slight dip in confidence is most likely occurring over the next few months.

September 2021 Methodology

LendingTree commissioned Qualtrics to conduct an online survey of 1,519 credit cardholders from September 14-21, 2021. 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.

August 2021: Credit Cardholder Confidence Sees Third Drop In Four Months

Credit card confidence dipped in August, marking the third decrease in the past four months.

Confidence is down slightly both in the short term and the longer term, with men more likely than women to express confidence in their ability to pay their cards’ monthly statement balance in full.

Key findings 

  • Credit card confidence dipped slightly in August. The percentage saying they’re confident in paying their credit card’s monthly statement balance in full this month matched the lowest level since February. Meanwhile, the percentage of cardholders saying they were not confident was the second highest since August 2020.
  • Longer-term confidence is falling, too. The percentage of cardholders expecting to pay their monthly statement balances in full in at least five of the next six months fell to its lowest level since November 2020.
  • Coronavirus delta variant impact. The number of cardholders saying they’re spending less on shopping, travel and dining out because of the pandemic hit its highest level since we started tracking in September 2020.
  • The gender gap has widened. For the second time in three months, men were at least 10 percentage points more likely than women to say they were confident about paying their card balances in full.

Credit card confidence continues downward trend

Credit cardholder confidence fell by only a percentage point in August, but it still marked the third time in four months that confidence had fallen.

65% of cardholders said they were confident in their ability to pay their credit cards’ monthly statement balance in full this month. That matches June’s percentage for the lowest since February.

On the flip side, 21% of people said they were not confident this month. (15% said they were neither confident nor not confident.) That’s the second highest percentage of non-confident cardholders since August 2020, topped only by June 2021’s 23%.

Both the 65% and 21% numbers are within a percentage point of the Index’s average for the past three years. However, they both represent significant changes from just a few months ago. In April, for example, 71% of cardholders said they were confident, while just 15% said they were not.

Women drove much of the decline. The percentage of confident women fell from 62% to 59% in August while confident men rose slightly, from 69% to 71%. This month’s pool of respondents skewed slightly more female than male. That 12-point gap (71% vs. 59%) is the largest between the genders since February.

In the three-year history of the Confidence Index, cardholder confidence has always fallen in August, and this month is no exception. In 2020, confidence fell 3 percentage points in August, the first drop in eight months.

Longer-term confidence is falling, too

Cardholders don’t just feel shaky about this month.

The percentage of cardholders expecting to pay their monthly statement balances in full in at least five of the next six months fell 4 percentage points to 48%. That marks its lowest level since November 2020.

It is the third time in the past four months that that number has fallen. During that time, the percentage fell from 56% in April 2021 — the highest since we began tracking in March 2019 – to 48%.

Also, the percentage who expect to pay in full in one or fewer of the next six months rose, from 18% in July to 21% in August, the highest percentage since March.

COVID variants having an impact

Our monthly survey includes a follow-up question asking why respondents rated themselves at their confidence level that month. We provided several options, along with the ability to include their own reason.

For confident cardholders, the most popular answers are typically that they usually don’t carry a balance, they only charge when they have enough cash or savings to cover the purchases or that they don’t have any major purchases looming on the horizon.

Among non-confident cardholders, common answers include: my balance is simply too big to pay in full, I’m trying to save while also paying down debt, or I don’t make enough income so I have to charge more.

We also asked both confident and unconfident cardholders about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic as well, and the numbers were eye-opening in August.

Nearly 1 in 5 (19%) of confident cardholders said one reason they felt that way was that they were spending less on travel, shopping and dining out because of COVID. That is the highest percentage we’ve seen since we began asking that question in August 2020.

Among non-confident cardholders, 11% said rising COVID cases were among the reasons for their lack of confidence. That’s the highest since we began tracking that answer in January 2021. It’s also a significant jump from just 4% in June.

Those numbers clearly show that the rise of the Delta variant and growth in COVID cases overall is having an impact on cardholders today, though that impact can be different for different people.

The bottom line

Predicting what’s next for cardholder confidence is challenging, as COVID numbers continue to rebound.

Whatever happens, though, the best thing you can do is protect yourself.

Knock down that high-interest debt while you can.

Use a zero-interest balance transfer credit card or a low-interest personal loan to refinance and consolidate your debt.

Call your lender to ask for a lower interest rate. (Your chances of success are better than you realize.)

Keep building that emergency fund – and then build it some more.

This stuff matters, and the best time to do these things is right now.

The more you do to take care of your financial health today – along with your physical, emotional and spiritual health – the better off you’ll be when things take a turn for the worse in the future.

August 2021 Methodology

LendingTree commissioned Qualtrics to conduct an online survey of 1,282 credit cardholders from August 11-23, 2021. 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.

July 2021: Consumer credit card confidence ticks higher in July

Overall credit card confidence rose slightly in July, the first increase since April.

However, a deeper look at the numbers shows that the intensity of that confidence has waned significantly in recent months, raising the possibility that consumer sentiment may begin falling again sooner rather than later.

Key findings 

  • Two-thirds of cardholders were confident in paying their bills in full in July, but the percentage saying they were “very confident” plunged to its lowest level since February 2020. 43% of cardholders said they were “very confident,” while 23% said they were “somewhat confident.”
  • Just 16% said they weren’t confident, matching the second-lowest percentage in the index’s nearly 3-year-history. That includes 12% who said they were “not at all” confident, also the second-lowest percentage ever.
  • Longer-term confidence remains stable, with 52% of cardholders saying they expect to pay their credit card’s monthly statement balance in full in at least five of the next six months. That’s the seventh straight month in which that percentage has been at or above 50%.

Confidence high but shaky?

Each month, we ask folks to rate their credit card bill-paying confidence from 1 to 5, with 1 being the lowest and 5 the highest. For much of the history of the index, which began in September 2018, respondents have tended toward the extreme. Up to and including this June, an average of 63% of respondents have either rated their confidence a 1 or a 5, with the rest falling somewhere in between.

Things changed in July, however: Just 55% rated their confidence either a 1 or a 5. That’s the lowest percentage on record, and just the eighth time in three years that that percentage fell below 60%.

While it is good news that fewer people are rating their confidence a 1, a drop in the percentage rating their confidence a 5 is not a positive development. Just 43% of cardholders rated their confidence a 5 in July, the lowest level since February 2020.

Meanwhile, 23% of cardholders rated their confidence a 4 out of 5, which equates to being somewhat confident. That matches the highest number ever, equaling December 2020 and July 2020.

The trillion-dollar question is: Will those cardholders continue to see their confidence wane as the economy continues to open up and spending begins to normalize? Or might this be a brief blip?

If history is a guide, it might be the latter. The last two times we saw similar dips in confidence numbers, they rebounded in the following month:

  • July 2020: 46% very confident, 23% somewhat confident
  • August 2020: 52% very confident, 14% somewhat confident
  • December 2020: 46% very confident, 23% somewhat confident
  • January 2021: 50% very confident, 17% somewhat confident

Longer-term confidence remains stable

When it comes to looking out over the next six months, consumers’ views have been far less volatile than their short-term perspective.

With the exception of a brief spike in April, the percentage of cardholders who say they expect to pay their credit card’s monthly statement balance in full in at least five of the next six months has moved very little since December. That’s likely a positive sign for consumer credit card confidence.

And those good feelings seem likely to continue for at least a few more months, spurred in part by the distribution of monthly child tax credit payments that began in July. This money will likely help people feel better about paying their bills through the end of the year.

The bottom line

Credit card debt will grow again sometime soon, and with it, credit cardholder confidence will almost certainly fall, at least a bit.

The question is when, exactly, will that happen? My guess is it’ll be sometime in 2022 — I tend to believe the data that this dip in confidence is a brief blip, like the ones mentioned previously.

For the rest of 2021, American cardholders will be bolstered by child tax credit payments, a recovering job market and a significant, though dwindling, cushion of cash left over from the shutdown days of the pandemic. That can be enough to keep cardholders feeling good about their financial situation, even as they begin to spend and travel again like it is 2019.

A lot could change that, however. The spread of the Delta variant of COVID-19 could spur a return to wider lockdowns and closures. An end to the moratorium on federal student loan payments could send household budgets crashing back to reality. Post-vaccination spending could prove far larger and more widespread than expected, wiping out people’s savings in a big hurry and thrusting them back into the debt cycle sooner than expected. All those things could send all that confidence spiraling down quickly.

Still, Americans have been remarkably resilient during the past few years. While there are plenty of dangers lurking out there that could threaten their confidence, I’d bet that consumers will continue to feel good about paying off their credit card bills — at least for a while longer.

As always, your best move is to knock down credit card and other high-interest debt. The good news is that lending is slowly returning to pre-pandemic levels — with offers for zero-interest balance transfer credit cards and low-interest personal loans are as accessible as they’ve been since the pandemic began — so you have options, especially if you have good credit.

July 2021 methodology

LendingTree commissioned Qualtrics to conduct an online survey of 713 credit cardholders from July 9-16, 2021. 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.

June 2021: Credit card confidence sinks to lowest level since February

Credit card confidence fell for the second straight month, dipping to its lowest levels since February.

This month’s Confidence Index showed a resurgence in the gender gap that has been present since the Index’s creation nearly three years ago but had waned significantly lately.

Perhaps most troubling of all, the percentage of those saying they were not at all confident — meaning they rated their confidence in paying their credit card’s monthly statement balance in full this month a 1 out of 5 — hit its highest level since last summer.

The news isn’t all bad, though. The survey still shows that nearly two-thirds of cardholders feel good about paying their monthly statement balance in full this month. While we wish that number were higher, the fact the percentage is that high coming out of one of the rockiest economic periods in American history is significant.

Key findings 

  • Confidence hits lowest level since February. Sixty-five percent of cardholders said they were confident in their ability to pay their credit card’s monthly statement balance in full this month, a 5-percentage point drop from May. Meanwhile, 23% said they were “not confident” – the highest number since August of 2020.
  • The gender gap makes a comeback. Women were 13 percentage points more likely than men to say they were not confident about paying their card balances in full this month, tying the highest percentage seen since October 2020.
  • Long-term confidence remains high. The percentage of cardholders who expect to pay their monthly credit card statements in full in at least five of the next six months dipped for the second straight month, but it remained above 50% for the sixth straight month — and the 8th time in the previous 10 months.

A return to pre-pandemic patterns?

Until recently, consecutive months of a decline in confidence have been relatively rare in the nearly three-year history of the Confidence Index. We saw declines in May and June not long after seeing them in January and February. Prior to that, it had only happened one other time – a five-month stretch of declines from May through September 2019.

During that five-month period, confidence fell from 67% to an Index-record low of 53%.

Confidence climbed throughout most of the pandemic as extended unemployment benefits and economic impact payments combined with lockdowns and reduced spending kept many Americans more flush with cash than normal. Confidence peaked in October at 74% and has been up and down inconsistently ever since.

The month’s drop leaves credit cardholder confidence just slightly above levels seen in March 2020, when the pandemic really took hold of the world economy.

The question is whether these back-to-back declines are a return to the summer doldrums that we saw in 2019. It bears watching in the coming months.

Gender gap re-emerges

In every month we’ve reported on the Confidence Index, men have been significantly more likely than women to say they were confident in paying their credit card bills, while women have always been much more likely to say they were not confident.

The good news is that the gap had gotten smaller in recent months.

In June, however, things took a step back.

Women were 13 percentage points more likely than men to say they were not confident, rating their level as a 1 or 2 out of a possible 5. That’s the widest margin since January. Men were 11 percentage points more likely than women to say they were confident, meaning they said their confidence level rated a 4 or 5 out of 5. That’s the biggest gap since February.

A closer look at the numbers shows that men and women are nearly equally as likely to rate their confidence level as a 5 out of a possible 5 (49% of women said so, compared with 47% of men). However, men were twice as likely as women to rate their confidence as a 4 out of 5 – still confident but not extremely so (24% of men said this versus just 11% of women.) That 11% is a 9-percentage-point decline from the previous month and the lowest percentage since October 2018.

It is only the second time in the Index’s history (the other was in July 2020) that more women than men rated their confidence as a 5 out of 5. However, that doesn’t tell the full story. Our report isn’t just about those who feel very confident. Those who feel somewhat confident matter, too, and if women’s numbers in that area keep dropping, the gender gap will likely widen.

The bottom line

It is likely that credit card confidence might continue to wane a bit, at least in the short term, as businesses continue to reopen, people start spending more, the effect of the most recent government stimulus check fades into memory and life returns to normal,

The summer can be an expensive time anyway, with kids out of school and the travel season well underway, so that will likely contribute to reduced confidence, too. That cash that so many Americans squirreled away during the pandemic will only last so long before people start falling back into old habits, including running up credit card debt.

One great unknown factor in all of this is the impact of the child tax credit monthly payments that will begin to be distributed in July. Those payments will be a big deal for many Americans, helping them extend their budget to the point where they may not need to lean on credit cards as much to help make ends meet. It could even allow many to continue paying the debts they had whittled down with previous government economic impact efforts. However, the payments may take some time to have a real impact on cardholders’ confidence.

The best move for those struggling with debt is still to take whatever steps necessary to keep reducing their balances. Apply for a 0% interest balance transfer card or a low-interest personal loan. Consider working with a credit counselor. Pick up the phone and ask your card issuer to lower your card’s interest rate or waive an annual fee.

Debt is awful, but it is important to understand you have options and that even taking a few small steps can add up to something big over time.

June 2021 Methodology

We commissioned Qualtrics to conduct an online survey of 779 credit cardholders, with the sample base proportioned to represent the overall population. The survey was fielded June 14-16, 2021.

May 2021: Credit card confidence dips slightly in May but remains high

Credit cardholders’ confidence dipped in May, falling for the first time since February.

Despite the decrease, cardholders’ confidence in their ability to pay their credit cards’ monthly statement balances in full this month remains high. It marks just the fourth month in the nearly three-year history of the Index that 70% or more of cardholders said they were confident.

A big reason for the high confidence levels? Women’s confidence, though it dipped in May, rose in recent months, shrinking the gap between the genders to the lowest levels ever in the Index.

As we saw in March, increased confidence among women in their ability to pay their credit card bills in full this month pushed overall confidence levels higher.

Key findings 

  • Credit card confidence dipped for the first time since February but remains high, with 70% saying they are confident and 18% saying they are not
  • The gender gap remains, though it is shrinking. The percentage of men saying they were “not confident” reached its highest level since March 2020, while the number of women saying they’re “not confident” remained at its lowest level on record. However, there were still more non-confident women than men.
  • Confident about the next six months, too. 44% of cardholders said they expect to pay their card statement balances in full in each of the next six months. That’s unchanged from last month’s record high.

Credit card confidence remains high

After climbing in back-to-back months, confidence took a small step back in May, falling one percentage point to 70%. However, it is up significantly from a year ago, in May 2020, when 66% of cardholders were more optimistic.

The highest confidence levels were in September and October 2020 (73% and 74%, respectively). Those two months, along with last month, are the only ones with higher confidence levels than May 2021.

Cardholder confidence over the longer term is strong, too. For the second straight month, a record 44% of respondents said they expect to pay their cards’ monthly statement balances in full in the next six months.

Not all the news is rosy, though. The percentage of cardholders saying they’re not confident in paying their credit card balances in full this month rose 3 percentage points to 18%, the highest total since February. (As to paying in full this month, 13% of respondents said they were neither confident nor unconfident.)

Gender gap remains but is shrinking

In virtually every survey we do, there is a gap in the views of men and women, and the Confidence Index is no different.

Consider this…

  • In the 33-month history of the Index, men have never been fewer than 7 percentage points more confident than women about paying their card bills. That gap has been less than 10 percentage points only six times — including the past two months.
  • In an average month, 71% of men say they’re confident versus just 57% of women, a gap of 14 percentage points. Also, just 16% of men say they’re “not confident,” compared to 28% of women, a gap of 12 percentage points.
  • Only once (in April 2021) reported more than half of women (52%) said they were “very confident” in their ability to pay off their card bills. That has happened for men 20 times, including 9 of the last 10 months.

The differences are stark. However, the good news is that the gap is getting smaller.

  • In May, the percentage of women who were not confident was just 2 percentage points higher than the percentage of men (18% and 16%, respectively). That’s the smallest gap ever in the Index. The three smallest gaps in Index history have happened in the past three months.
  • The percentage of men who are confident was just 8 percentage points higher than women in May, 74% and 66%, respectively. That’s the second-smallest gap ever, trailing only last month’s 7-percentage-point difference.

Part of the reason behind the gap closing is that men’s confidence has fallen from record-high levels last fall (83% of men were confident in October 2020, compared to 74% today). However, that’s not the full story.

Women’s confidence has grown. Despite ticking down slightly from last month’s record high, May’s level of 66% is far higher than the average seen for women in the 33-month history, which is 57%. It is also higher than the 61% seen in May of 2020 and the 59% seen in May of 2019.

The bottom line

The trillion dollar question, of course, is can this gap continue to close?

I’d love to say yes, but the reality is that the answer is probably no.

The coming child care tax credits will help. Up to $300 a month per child under age 6 and up to $250 for each child age up to 17 will be an absolute game-changer for some households. Given that women are more likely to be heads of single parent households and bear more child care responsibility overall, these payments may have a bigger impact on women than men.

It can help them more easily make ends meet without having to lean on credit cards to do so. We’ve seen the impact of previous government stimulus checks on households, and there’s no reason to think that these new child care tax credits won’t be significant as well.

However, most of the financial headwinds women face — lower pay, the pink tax, greater child care responsibilities, higher unemployment rates and a laundry list of other challenges — aren’t going to go away anytime soon. The deck is simply stacked against women in a way that it isn’t against men, which means a smaller financial margin for error and, most likely, less confidence when it comes to paying your credit card bills.

Regardless of your gender, your best move is to continue knocking down that credit card debt, and one of the most effective ways to do that is lower your interest rate. You can do that by getting a 0% APR balance transfer credit card or a low-interest personal loan. You can also do it by simply asking for a lower rate from your card issuer.

A recent LendingTree survey showed that more than 80% of those who asked for a lower rate got one. Again, there was a gender gap, as women were less likely than men to both ask and to get their way. However, 74% of women got their request granted, meaning that it is absolutely worth your time to ask.

May 2020 Methodology

We commissioned Qualtrics to conduct an online survey of 897 credit cardholders, with the sample base proportioned to represent the overall population. The survey was fielded May 5-8, 2020.

Generations are defined as the following ages in 2020:

  • Gen Z are ages 18-23
  • Millennials are ages 24-39
  • Gen X are ages 40-54
  • Baby boomers are ages 55-74
  • Silent generation are ages 75 and older

April 2021: Credit Card Confidence Climbs Again In April

Americans’ credit card confidence climbed for the second straight month in April, hitting its highest levels since October.

As we saw in March, increased confidence among women in their ability to pay their credit card bills in full this month pushed overall confidence levels higher.

Key findings

  • 71% of cardholders were confident in April, the third-highest percentage ever in the Confidence Index. That’s a 5-percentage-point jump from March and a 7-percentage-point jump from April 2020.
  • Women’s credit card confidence hit a record high with 68% saying they were confident in paying this month’s statement balance in full. Meanwhile, the gap between men’s and women’s confidence levels was the lowest on record.
  • Looking further ahead, a record 44% of cardholders said they expect to pay their card’s monthly statement balance in full in each of the next six months.

Confidence keeps climbing

More than 7 in 10 cardholders (71%) said they felt positive about paying this month’s monthly statement balance in full. That’s the third highest percentage we’ve seen since the Index began in September 2018.

It’s the third-straight April without a decrease in confidence. In April 2020, confidence held steady at 64%, even as the pandemic began to take hold. In April 2019, confidence rose 3 percentage points to 67% — a level that wouldn’t be reached again until June 2020.

However, the good news this month wasn’t just that more people were optimistic. We also saw the percentage of cardholders who said they’re not confident fall to 15%, equaling December 2020 for the lowest percentage on record (14% of respondents were neither confident nor not confident).

That rosy outlook isn’t just about this month either. When we asked about confidence in paying their credit card statement balances in full for the next six months, 44% of cardholders said they expect to do so every single month. That’s up 3 percentage points from March and is the highest percentage since we started asking the question in March 2019.

Gender gap keeps shrinking

More than 2 in 3 women (68%) said they were confident in being able to pay their card’s monthly statement balance in full this month. This is not only a 7-percentage-point increase from March, but it is also 4 percentage points higher than the previous high confidence level for women — reached in July 2020.

Men’s confidence went up, too, jumping from 71% to 75%, which is the highest since December 2020.

That 7-percentage-point gap between men and women’s confidence levels is still significant. However, it is the smallest gap that we’ve seen between the sexes in the history of the Index. In the previous 31 Indexes, only five had shown a confidence gender gap of fewer than 10 points and never one lower than 8 percentage points, which happened most recently in July 2020.

The bottom line

There’s no reason to expect cardholder confidence to fall sharply anytime soon.

The effects of the most recent economic impact payments — also known as stimulus checks — will linger for many Americans for at least a while longer. Plus, as more Americans become fully vaccinated, more businesses reopen and more people will find jobs. As the economy generally improves, there’s likely to be a sense of relief for many people just to be able to spend again like they did before the pandemic took hold.

The good news is that many Americans have unusually high cash reserves with which to pay off their post-vaccination splurges more easily. That cash has allowed many Americans to pay down debt over the past few months — leveraging things like balance transfer credit cards and low-interest personal loans — and should allow many Americans to continue to keep their debt relatively low despite the extra spending, at least for a while.

That won’t last forever, though. We’d expect debt to begin to rise later this year, possibly sending cardholder confidence levels down from their current heights.

But for now, cardholders are clearly feeling good about themselves, and that feeling is likely to last for a while.

April 2021 Methodology

LendingTree commissioned Qualtrics to conduct an online survey of 1,013 credit cardholders from April 14-21, 2021. 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.

March 2021: Women Push Card Confidence Higher For 1st Time Since January

Women’s confidence in their ability to pay their credit card bills hit its highest level since October, pushing Americans’ overall credit card confidence to its first monthly increase since December.

Key findings

  • Overall credit card confidence rose for the first time since December, with 66% of cardholders saying they’re confident in their ability to pay their monthly statement balances in full this month. That’s a 3-percentage-point jump from February.
  • Women’s credit card confidence rose to its highest level since October, while men’s confidence stayed at its lowest level since March 2020.
  • 41% of cardholders overall said they expect to pay their credit card’s monthly statement balance in full in each of the next six months. That’s unchanged from February, and just 1 percentage point below the record high seen in January.

Confidence rebounds

Nearly 3 in 4 cardholders (74%) were confident in paying their credit card bills back in October, the highest percentage since tracking began back in September 2018. Since then, the road has been rocky, with confidence falling in three of the previous four months, before finally ticking higher in March.

The promise of a new economic impact payment from the government surely helped confidence levels increase. However, we’ve also seen month-over-month increases in the previous two Marches as well.

Confidence looks strong for the longer term, too. When looking out over the next six months, 41% of Americans say they expect to pay their monthly statements in full in all six of those months. When you include those who expect to pay in at least five of the next six months, the picture is even brighter, with more than half (51%) of all cardholders saying so. That’s the highest percentage since September 2020.

Women lead the way

In virtually every survey we do, there’s a gender gap, and the Confidence Index is no exception. Women have been less confident than men in each of the 31 months in which we’ve done the survey.

The good news is that the gap has shrunk in a big way in recent months. In March, 71% of men were confident and 61% of women said the same, a gap of 10 percentage points. That’s certainly still significant — however, it is the smallest that gap has been since July 2020, when it was 8 percentage points. It’s also less than half of the 21-percentage-point gap we saw in October 2020.

The bottom line

With the government’s new economic impact payments hitting millions of Americans’ bank accounts this month, it’s unsurprising to see credit card confidence rise. The impact of those payments is likely to linger for a while, too, meaning that confidence will likely remain higher in the near future as well.

The big question is whether those good feelings will last. I’d wager that they will — and they might even get stronger.

While many Americans are financially struggling right now, many others are itching to spend. They want to travel, dine out, go to ballgames and concerts and generally get back to normal life. They’ve also reduced their debt, bumped up their savings and are flush with cash, thanks to government payments and reduced spending over the past few months.

That extra cushion means that when they start to spend again, they’ll have the money on hand to pay those bills off quickly — at least for a while. That bodes well for credit card confidence over the next few months.

March 2020 Methodology

LendingTree commissioned Qualtrics to conduct an online survey of 750 credit cardholders from March 17-22, 2021. 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.

February 2021: Consumer Credit Card Confidence Falls Again

Credit card confidence fell for the third time in the past four months, reaching its lowest level since February 2020.

Despite that downward trend, there were still clear signs of optimism to be seen, with record levels of cardholders paying their credit cards monthly statement balances in full in the past six months and similar numbers expecting to do so for the next six months.

Key findings

  • Overall credit card confidence dipped for the second straight month, with 63% of cardholders saying they’re confident in their ability to pay their monthly statement balances in full this month. It’s the lowest percentage since February 2020.
  • Half of cardholders said they expect to pay their monthly statement balance in full in at least 5 of the next 6 months. That’s unchanged from January and equals the second-highest percentage since May 2019.
  • 40% of cardholders said they paid their monthly statement balance in full in all 6 of the past 6 months. That’s the highest total since June 2019.

Another tough February

Credit card confidence fell 11 percentage points since its peak in October 2020, with the biggest drop — a 10 percentage-point plunge from 74% to 64% — in November. After rebounding in December, confidence has fallen twice since then, including this month.

Perhaps it shouldn’t have come as a surprise. In the two-and-a-half-year history of the Confidence Index, February has consistently been a month where cardholders struggled. For example:

  • February 2021: 63% – Lowest confidence number in a year.
  • February 2020: 63% – Second-lowest confidence number of 2020.
  • February 2019: 58% – Fourth-lowest confidence number in history of the Index.

This month’s percentage could have been lower if not for the sample size skewing unusually heavily male. There were 622 male respondents and 505 female respondents in this month’s survey. Given that men have shown to be significantly more confident every month since the Index began, it is likely that this month’s sample resulted in a higher overall confidence number than we would have seen with a more even split.

There are myriad reasons why February might be a difficult month for cardholders, including tax bills and lingering holiday debt. Whatever the reason, it is clear that in February 2021, many Americans are less confident about paying their credit card bills than they were just a few months ago.

Reasons for optimism

Not all the data is troubling, however.

Just 19% of cardholders are “not confident” in their ability to pay their card statement balances in full this month. That percentage has been at 20% or lower since September 2020. Before that, it had only happened four times in the previous 24 months.

If more people were feeling like they couldn’t pay their card balances in full while fewer people were feeling more confident, that’d be a clear sign of trouble. Instead, what we’re seeing is growth in the middle. Nearly 1 in 5 respondents (18%) rated their confidence as a 3 out of 5, which we regard as neither confident nor unconfident. That 18% is the highest since August 2019 and the second highest since the Index began in September 2018.

The question for the future is which way those folks in the middle will move. Our survey data gives us reason to believe that they’ll move in a positive direction.

One potential clue: Looking forward, half of cardholders (50%) said they expect to pay their monthly statement balance in full in at least five of the next six months, including 41% who expect to pay in full in all six months. Both of those numbers are among the highest in the history of the Index.

Also 40% of credit cardholders said they paid their cards’ monthly statement balance in full every single time in the past six months. That’s the highest percentage since June 2019, and the second highest ever.

So what does all this mean?

The bottom line

I fully expect credit cardholder confidence to rise in the next few months.

Yes, people are feeling a bit wobbly about paying their card balances in full right now, but they’ve still been paying their card balances in the past few months and expect to continue doing so for the next few. That bodes well for the future.

Also, in the previous two years, March, April and May have been higher than February. Of course, past performance is no guarantee of future results, but there are reasons to believe that we’ll see similar growth in 2021.

The main reason for optimism is the continued COVID-19 vaccination efforts. Reducing cases and keeping people safe is the key to economic recovery, and while we’re a long way from being back to normal, these vaccinations are helping people see light at the end of the tunnel.

Another big reason is the possibility of more government stimulus. That money — in the form of continued extended unemployment benefits or a one-off check — is a big deal for struggling Americans, but it would even help those who are still financially stable by giving them more of a financial cushion in case disaster strikes.

That said, there are still numerous reasons for continued concern. While many Americans have been able to reduce debt, increase savings and firm up their financial footing, many more are in dire straits. Joblessness is still rampant. Bills still can’t be paid. Kids can’t go back to school. These struggling Americans are losing hope that their financial situation will ever recover from this pandemic and a stimulus check will do little to change that. The only thing that will make a real difference is a steady job.

The best move is to focus on knocking down debt and building up emergency savings, if possible. A few options include using 0% balance transfer credit cards or low-rate personal loans to reduce the interest you’re paying and revisiting your budget to carve out a little extra cash to put toward reducing debt and/or growing savings.

February 2021 methodology

LendingTree commissioned Qualtrics to conduct an online survey of 1,141 credit cardholders, conducted Feb. 11-16, 2021. 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 2021: Confidence Index Dips to Start 2021

Americans’ confidence in their ability to pay their credit card balances dipped in January, the second drop in the past three months and the third in six months. A deeper dive into the numbers shows that the still-contentious 2020 presidential election is hurting the confidence of many consumers, though the longer-term view Americans have is far rosier.

Key findings

  • 67% of credit cardholders said they were confident in their ability to pay their credit cards’ monthly statement balances in full this month, down two percentage points from December.
  • Republican cardholder confidence has fallen 23 percentage points since October. 60% of Republican cardholders said they were confident, down from 83% in October. Meanwhile, Democratic cardholder confidence had its fifth straight month without a decrease.
  • 42% of cardholders say they expect to pay their monthly statement balances in full in all of the next six months. That’s the highest percentage since we began asking the question in March 2019.

Credit card confidence drops again

Despite the pandemic, consumers’ confidence in their ability to pay their credit card bills grew continuously through the first half of 2020. In November 2019, just 58% of cardholders said they were confident. By July 2020, 69% said the same. During that entire period, confidence never dipped, and it only remained unchanged twice.

Since then, confidence has been on a roller coaster ride — down in August, up in September and October, down in November, back up in December and finally back down in January.

The 67% confidence total for January 2021 is higher than the 62% seen in January 2020 and equal to the January 2019 number. It is also higher than the average monthly confidence level seen through the history of the index, which is 64%.

It was also unrealistic to think that the boom in cardholder confidence seen in early to mid-2020 would continue forever. However, the ups and downs seen in recent months are eye-opening. While some of it may simply be reversion to the mean after a strong year, other factors are surely at play, too, including the election.

Republican confidence has plunged

Back in October, 83% of credit cardholders who identified themselves as Republicans said they were confident in their ability to pay their credit cards’ monthly statement balances in full that month. In September, 80% said the same.

Those were the highest percentages seen among Republicans since at leastthis information was first tracked in November 2019, and it was unlikely to expect that number to keep climbing — it was even less likely once it became clear that President Trump had lost the 2020 presidential election.

However, the plunge we’ve seen in Republican cardholder confidence has been stunning, nonetheless.

Republican cardholder confidence has fallen 23 percentage points in the past three months, including six percentage points in January. January’s 60% is the lowest since November 2019’s 58%.

Interestingly, the Republican plunge has not been met with a Democratic spike of a similar size. Democratic cardholder confidence has risen for three straight months, but it has only climbed four percentage points – from 67% to 71%.

Six-month outlook is more positive

Looking further ahead, consumers’ outlooks brighten. More than 4 in 10 cardholders (42%) say they expect to pay their cards’ monthly statement balances in full in all six of the next six months. That’s the highest percentage we’ve seen since we started asking that question nearly two years ago, and an eight-percentage point jump from December.

Some of the reasons for that confidence include new economic impact payments from the government and the promise of a COVID-19 vaccine.

The bottom line

The recent ups and downs we’ve seen in consumer credit card confidence are probably going to continue, at least for a while.

While 2020 was topsy-turvy and awful, 2021 has the potential to be incredibly volatile, too. Hope is on the horizon, thanks to the vaccine, but there are already hiccups and difficulties with its rollout. Presidential transitions are often messy, even in far less contentious times than this current one. Millions of Americans are unemployed and countless businesses are still in big trouble, so the economy is still a wreck. Add it all up and, despite the government’s new payments, there’s plenty of reason to be concerned about people’s finances.

However, in the long term, there are also many reasons for optimism. The biggest, of course, is the vaccine and the potential it brings for returning life to some semblance of pre-COVID-19 normalcy. Once the vaccine is widely implemented, cases should drop significantly, unemployment should begin to fall and confidence is likely to skyrocket.

January 2021 methodology

LendingTree commissioned Qualtrics to conduct an online survey of 1,006 credit cardholders, with the sample base proportioned to represent the overall population. The survey was fielded Jan. 8-11, 2021.

December 2020: Consumer Credit Card Confidence Rebounds In December

After plunging last month in the wake of the election, consumer credit card confidence rebounded in December.

The jump means consumer confidence ends 2020 on a high note. That seems a fitting way to end a year in which consumers’ faith in their ability to pay their monthly credit card statement balance in full this month rarely wavered, despite the economic wreckage caused by the COVID-19 crisis. And there’s reason to believe that faith may only strengthen in 2021.

Key findings: 

  • 69% of cardholders said they were confident in their ability to pay their credit cards’ monthly statement balance in full this month, up 5 percentage points from November.
  • Republican cardholder confidence fell for the second straight month, dipping to its lowest levels since March, while Democratic confidence had its fourth straight month without a decrease.
  • Just 18% of cardholders said they expect to pay their credit cards’ monthly statement balance in full in one or fewer of the next six months, the second-lowest percentage since March 2019.

Closing 2020 on a confident note

After November brought just the second month-to-month drop in confidence in all of 2020, the belief in their ability to pay their cards’ monthly statement balance bounced back in December.

The percentage of confident cardholders was the third-highest in the two-plus-year history of the Index, topped only by September and October 2020’s levels, and the percentage of nonconfident cardholders was the lowest ever. Just 15% of cardholders said they were not sure about being able to pay their bills in full this month. (Compare that to the 16% of cardholders who rated their confidence as a 3 out of 5, which we deem as neither confident nor not confident.)

Men continue to be more optimistic than women about this month’s bills. However, the number of men who say they are “very confident” – rating their confidence a 5 out of a possible 5 – fell for the third-straight month. Just 47% said they were very confident. That’s the lowest percentage since July and is 17 percentage points lower than the record high seen in September.

Still, when cardholders look ahead to the next six months of payments, they clearly remain positive.

  • 49% of cardholders said they expect to pay their monthly statement balances in full in at least five of the next six months. That includes 34% who expect to pay in full in all six months.
  • Just 18% expect to pay in full only one time or fewer in the next six months.

Lingering effects of the election

It’s not news that the 2020 election was, and continues to be, one of the most contentious elections in American history. It may also be taking a toll of many Americans’ certainty in their ability to pay their credit card bills.

Two-thirds (66%) of Republican cardholders said they were confident in their ability to pay their monthly statement balances in full this month. While that is still a strong number, it is a massive drop from the 83% who said so in October and the 80% who said the same in September.

Most of the change has come at the extremes.

  • 49% of Republicans said they were very confident. That’s down 20 percentage points from October.
  • 14% of Republicans said they were not at all confident. That’s double the percentage who said the same in October.

The bottom line

When the pandemic began, few would’ve expected cardholder confidence to remain as high as it has. Now that 2020 is nearly over, the election is behind us and the coronavirus vaccines are beginning to be distributed, there’s plenty of reason to believe that confidence will continue to grow.

It is certainly possible that things might get worse before they get better, though. Cases of the virus are still spreading throughout the country, unemployment is still historically high and a crisis relief bill is not yet completed. That could make for an extremely difficult start to 2021 for millions of Americans.

Also, there’s only so much room for growth left. There will always be a substantial group of Americans who aren’t able to pay their credit card bills in full. That’s true in the best of economic times, and it is certainly true during the worst. While our current confidence level is likely not the ceiling, it is unrealistic to expect numbers to go too much higher.

Still, at least a little more growth is likely, as the dust settles from the election and optimism continues to grow as the end of the pandemic gets closer.

December 2020 Methodology

LendingTree commissioned Qualtrics to conduct an online survey of 711 credit cardholders, with the sample base proportioned to represent the overall population. The survey was fielded Dec. 9-11, 2020.