Consumer Payment Card News

Free Loaders

The number of Americans paying off credit card balances in full each month jumped sharply last year to 43%, compared to 38% in 2003 and 39% in 2002. The number of free loaders, those who avoid paying credit card interest charges, peaked in 2000 at 44.4%. Throughout the 1990s, the number of convenience users steadily increased, rising from 28.6% in 1990. The decline in the early 2000s is attributed to both the sluggish general economy and historically low interest rates. Some consumers switched back to revolving as personal income dropped, while others find 0% APRs and other super low interest rates provide little incentive to pay off in full each month. Overall, Americans pay back an average of 17% to 18% of their credit card balances each month, historical highs.

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