A majority of consumers (61 percent) believe that paying off credit card debt in full each month is the only responsible way to manage finances, according to a survey by the National Foundation of Credit Card Counseling.
However, the poll conducted by the nonprofit credit counseling agency of 1,630 American consumers showed that 18 percent of consumers believe carrying over credit card debt from month to month is just a fact of life and is fiscally responsible.
Another 21 percent of respondents say they do not use credit cards at all.
Carrying credit card debt from month to month has the potential of negatively affecting a person’s debt to credit ratio, one of the main components of credit scores, the Foundation says.
In addition, the cardholder ends up paying interest on any new purchases that are made and on the interest that has been added in previous months.
“This data suggests that not only are many Americans using credit cards to fund a lifestyle their income can’t support, but they are comfortable doing so,” says Gail Cunningham, spokesperson for the foundation.
Despite the disadvantages of carrying over credit card debt, there also are negatives to not using credit cards at all, the foundation says. Using credit cards and paying off debt each month builds a credit history that can then be accessed for major purchases.