Two-Thirds of Financially Stressed Consumers Revolve Their Credit Card Balances Each Month

As consumers look for ways to make ends meet, many of those who do not have a financial safety net are forced to carry their credit card balances over to future bills.

By the Numbers

consumers, revolving credit

The Credit Card Use Deep Dive Edition” of the PYMNTS Intelligence series “New Reality Check: The Paycheck-to-Paycheck Report” draws from a survey of more than 3,200 United States consumers, aiming to better understand their financial lifestyles and to gain insight into how they use credit cards to manage their cash flows to get by. 

The results reveal that the majority consumers who do not have financial safety nets to fall back on are left to revolve their credit card balances. As of November, 43% of the population said that they at least occasionally do so. That share rises to 65% for those who live paycheck to paycheck with issues paying off their bills and to 51% for those who live paycheck to paycheck but without issues paying their bills.

Meanwhile, for those with more financial reserves to draw on, only 23% said they at least occasionally revolve their credit card payments.

The Data in Context

Of course, consumers want to pay off their debt. The Federal Reserve’s latest report on consumer credit, released earlier this month, indicated signs that consumers might be pulling back on spending and prioritizing paying down card debt.

The outstanding revolving debt, which includes credit card balances, declined at an annualized rate of 0.4% in April. Earlier in the year, the rate had been markedly positive, exceeding 10%, but it slowed to around 1.5% annualized in March.

PYMNTS Intelligence’s “The Paycheck-to-Paycheck Report: Why 60 Percent of Gen Z’s Live Paycheck to Paycheck” found that 15% of Generation Z consumers said repaying debt is a priority, as did 22% of baby boomers, 23% of Generation X consumers, 20% of bridge millennials and millennials, and nearly 19% of zillennials.