Managing Debt

Who Will Be Debt-Free in 2014?

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Is 2014 the year you plan to start tackling your credit card debt? If so, you’re not alone. Most Americans with credit card debt are serious about paying it off, and most plan to tackle it in 2014, according to a new survey by Credit.com – Americans and Credit Card Debt.

The 2014 Americans and Credit Card debt survey was conducted among 2,223 adults online Jan. 1-9 on behalf of Credit.com.

Of the 55% of survey respondents who said they have at least some credit card debt, more than half (51%) said it is “extremely important” that they have a plan in place during 2014 to get out of credit card debt, while another 21% said it is somewhat important, and 9% said it is moderately important.

Most of those surveyed aren’t going to wait too long to start chipping away at those balances. More than two-thirds of respondents (68%) report it is “extremely likely” that they will start to pay down their debt in 2014, and another 17% say it is somewhat likely. Few plan to do nothing this year; in fact, only 6% say it is either somewhat or extremely unlikely that they will be able to start paying those bills back.

Getting Out of Debt in 2014?

As for the amount of progress they expect to make, a little more than 40% of those surveyed say it is extremely likely they will be able to eliminate all of their credit card debt this year while another 17% say it is somewhat likely and 10% say it is moderately likely. Just over 32% report it is somewhat or extremely unlikely that they will be able to wipe out their credit card debt in 2014.

Understandably, the more debt consumers have, the less likely they are to say they plan to pay it off by year-end. For example, 90% of those with $1,000 or less in outstanding balances say they are extremely likely or somewhat likely to pay that off this year, while only 40% of those with balances of $5,001–$10,000 have the same expectation, and only 13% of those with balances greater than $20,000 report it is extremely likely they will be able to accomplish that feat.

Credit Card Debt Consolidation Popular

credit card debt 2014

The majority of those with outstanding credit card balances appear to be comfortable getting out of debt without professional debt help. Only 8% say they have seriously considered getting help from a credit counseling agency or a bankruptcy attorney.

Credit card debt consolidation is a more popular option, however, with nearly 15% of all consumers who reported carrying debt saying they had seriously considered it.

In fact, for all levels of debt, more consumers reported seriously considering credit card debt consolidation than bankruptcy or credit counseling, with one exception: 71% of consumers with very large balances — $50,000–$75,000 — have seriously considered bankruptcy, while only 14% say the same about credit card debt consolidation and credit counseling.

Get Started!

Is one of your goals to pay off some or all of your credit card debt this year? Then join us for an upcoming discussion on Twitter with Yahoo! Finance.

Credit.com and Yahoo! Finance will be co-hosting a Twitter chat on Jan. 14 at 6 p.m. ET/3 p.m. PT to discuss the findings of this survey and to help consumers jumpstart their efforts to become debt-free in 2014. Participants will be able to share their experiences with debt, ask a panel of experts their questions about paying off credit card debt, and win prizes. The hashtag for the event is #debtfree2014.

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