Only half of U.S. credit card consumers believe they can pay off their December balance in full, survey finds

A photo shows a person holding a credit card while shopping on-line on a computer. (Photo by Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Now that the holidays are over, credit card payments are on the horizon for many consumers who aren’t as confident they can take care of their December balance in the new year. 

In a recent survey from LendingTree, the online lending financial company learned that only 51% of cardholders said they were confident in their ability to pay their credit cards’ monthly balance for last December in full this month. But in November, the Confidence Index among cardholders was slightly higher at 58%. 

These findings from the LendingTree Credit Card Confidence Index, a monthly survey, represents an all-time low since the company began tracking this data in 2018. 

LendingTree polled 1,514 U.S. credit cardholders between 18 and 77 years old during Dec. 11-16, 2023, to collect their data. 

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Another trend shared in the survey shows that women feel more uneasy about paying their credit card balance in full for December than men. 

Roughly 40% of women polled said they feel confident in paying their credit cards’ monthly statement compared to 64% of men.

Among the responses from different age groups, Gen Z (62%) cardholders showed the highest confidence in paying their statement in full in January, while the confidence level was only 40% for GenX consumers, 56% for baby boomers, and 52% for millennials, which represented a significant decline for this particular group, per the index. 

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While December’s stats in the report reflect a new low in confidence for cardholders, the index saw a similar decline for consumers in June 2022 when 53% of respondents said they were confident in paying their credit card balance in full. 

However, in October 2020, the credit card index experienced its largest growth in consumer confidence. But since then, the index has dipped annually to an average of 66% in 2021, 62% in 2022, and 59% in 2023. 

Citing Wallethub, FOX Business reported that in 2022, $116 billion in new credit card debt increased as inflation affected household budgets. During the second quarter of 2023, consumers added nearly $43 billion in credit card debt, marking the second-largest surge for that period to date.

FOX Business noted that in September 2023 credit card balances for the average household was $10,170 at the end of the second quarter, which is only $2,242 less than the record set during the fourth quarter of 2007, during the Great Recession.  

FOX Business contributed to this report.  This story was reported from Washington, D.C.