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Credit Card Balances Still Major Money Worry

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Millions of Americans have been able to successfully reduce the amount of money they owe to credit card lenders in the last few years, but those balances still remain a major concern to many.

In all, 40 percent of consumers say that their ability to pay their credit card bills, as well as their mortgage or rent, is their primary financial concern, behind only having the ability to save money for the short term (74 percent) and put more toward a retirement account (64 percent), according to the latest Chase Pulse of the Consumer Survey. On the other hand, 65 percent of those polled also said that they believe their finances hit bottom in the past and are now either holding steady or altogether improving, up from just 56 percent who felt the same way last year.

“We’re encouraged that consumers think the economy and their personal finances are on the upswing, but there is still work to be done,” said Eileen Serra, CEO of Chase Card Services. “Consumers continue to need the correct financial tools and services to better manage their everyday expenses – that is a critical first step to gaining full control over their financial future.”

Fortunately, a majority of consumers say that technology allows them to keep a better handle on their money problems these days, as 70 percent say they find online banking, credit card websites or both to be the most effective way to manage their finances. Another 24 percent also find mobile banking and credit card apps to be the valuable as well.

However, the concerns consumers carry about their lack of savings could prove disastrous in the future, the report said. When faced with an unexpected $1,500 emergency expense, 49 percent said they would have to put that amount on their credit cards. Of that group, half said they would be in a position to pay the balance off on their next billing cycle, and the other half believed they would have to take at least a few months to do so.

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Making greater efforts to pay down credit card debts, which typically carry sizable interest rates, can be extremely helpful in allowing consumers to get their finances under control by allowing them to put the money from their monthly bills to other uses once the balance is reduced to zero.

Image: Images_of_Money, via Flickr

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