August 3, 2010
Americans still aren't making the most of hard-learned credit lessons, according to the results of a recent survey conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of Lending Club, a U.S. peer lending network. Most adults know their credit scores (69 percent) and most adults with credit cards know their credit card interest rates (83 percent). However, those who know their rates are still paying too much (64 percent pay 14 percent or more). Sixty-five percent of credit card users don't bother negotiating for better interest rates even though 93 percent know they can.
Lending Club's Consumer Credit Survey found that Americans are more educated about credit than they were before the recession; 31 percent of adults are unsure of their credit score (compared to 45 percent who did not know in 2007, according to a Bankrate Inc. survey); and 22 percent of adults who use a credit card don't know the interest rate on the credit card they use most often (compared to 29 percent who reported not knowing in 2007, according to a National Foundation for Credit Counseling survey).
However, this knowledge isn't translating into action. Forty-four percent of American adults still carry credit card debt (compared to 46 percent in 2007, according to the Federal Reserve Survey of Consumer Finances conducted in February 2009), and pay high interest rates on it (31 percent have an interest rate of 20 percent or more and 64 percent pay 14 percent or more). Although 93 percent of credit card users know it's possible to negotiate for a better rate, only 29 percent have ever tried to do so.
* Most Americans use credit cards, but more than one in five don't know the interest rate on the credit card they use most frequently. Close to one-third of those who do know their interest rate are paying between 20 and less than 31 percent. Although nearly all credit card users know it's possible to negotiate lower interest rates with their credit card provider (93 percent), most adults who have a credit card don't bother (65 percent).
* Most Americans have some debt (76 percent). Among those who have debt other than a home mortgage, adults 55 and older are more likely to have credit card debt (73 percent) than younger adults 18-34 (60 percent). Forthose with debt other than a home mortgage, credit card debt is the most common type of debt overall (67 percent).