After years of maxing out credit cards, the debt fever appears to be subsiding among Americans. New surveys show that Americans are getting better with debt management, smartly shop for credit cards by interest rates, and do not consider bankruptcy as a viable alternative. A survey conducted by Florida-based Consolidated Credit Counseling Services found that 71% of nearly 1,500 participants say debts are making their home lives unhappy, as compared to 78% the previous year. Three-quarters of consumers polled in the same survey stated that their credit cards are at, or near, their limit as compared to 80% last year. The Consolidated Credit Counseling Services* survey also found a 6% decrease in the number of people who only pay the minimum amount due on their credit cards each month. Another survey of 1,329 participants, conducted by CardWeb.com, found that 57% of consumers look for a low interest rate when shopping for a new credit card, while 17% look for rewards program. Nearly 21% of consumers consider no annual fee to be prime factor in card selection. Less than 6% look for high credit limits. Meanwhile, California-based FindLaw said its recent survey of 1,000 Americans found that only 11% of the respondents said they had ever considered filing for personal bankruptcy. FindLaw says Americans’ reluctance to consider filing for bankruptcy did not vary significantly by age, family income, race or employment status. Those who were unemployed were no more likely to have considered filing for bankruptcy than people working full- or part-time.
* Consolidated Credit Counseling Services is not affiliated with CCCS.