Consumer Payment Card News

Plastic Livin

With the economy in a tailspin and layoffs mounting, there is concern that some consumers may start living off just their credit cards. Why? Most consumers have not saved during the good times. According to a recent nationwide telephone survey conducted by Opinion Research Corporation, when asked how long Americans would be financially secure if they were laid off from their job, nearly half (46%) of those surveyed said they would only be financially secure for three months or less. On the other hand, 20% of those surveyed feel comfortable that they would be able to pay their bills for more than one year if they were laid off tomorrow. Twenty-nine percent of people surveyed who earn less than $15,000 a year think they would not be financially secure for much more than a week if they lost their job today and only 12% think they would be able to survive for more than a year. Of those earning $50,000 or more a year however, 29% think they would be financially secure for more than a year if they lost their job today, and only 6% feel they would be in trouble after a week. Twenty-six percent of college graduates would feel financially secure for more than a year if they lost their job today. On the other hand, only 16% of high school graduates feel they could pay their bills for more than a year and only 10% of those who did not finish high school would be financially secure for this period of time. The survey was based upon telephone interviews with a representative sample of more than 1,392 adults, 18 years of age and older, who are employed either full or part time. Interviews were conducted by Opinion Research Corporation’s Caravan between March 22, 2001 to March 26, 2001. The margin of sampling error associated with this survey is plus or minus three percentage points.

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