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debt - All posts tagged debt

  • Sep 13, 2011
    4:29 PM ET

    Credit-Card Debt Is on the Rise Again

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    After a few years of austerity, credit card debt is rising again. According to data released this week by credit-card comparison web site CardHub.com, consumers racked up $18.4 billion in credit card debt during the second quarter of 2011, 66% more than what they amassed during the second quarter of last year and more than four times what they did two years ago.

    At the current rate, consumers are on track to end the year with $54 billion extra in credit card debt, following a $9 billion increase last year. That suggests consumers are amassing credit card debt at a faster rate than ever, says Odysseas Papadimitriou, chief executive at CardHub.com.

    This spike, however, occurred while the economy was still on the upswing and consumers were feeling relatively good about their financial outlook. That has changed in the last few months, and the volatility in the stock market and unpredictability in Europe could cause consumers to reverse course in the third quarter, says Papadimitriou.

  • Aug 17, 2011
    1:18 PM ET

    Skipping the Mortgage to Pay Your Credit Card

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    Fewer consumers are up to their eyeballs in credit card debt these days — but for some, a lower credit card balance is coming at the expense of the mortgage.

    The average consumer has an average of $6,355 in credit card debt, according to a CreditKarma.com report released today — 18% less than this time last year. Consumers are getting better about paying on time, too. Last week, a study from credit reporting bureau Experian found 20% fewer consumers are 60 days late on their credit card payments than were in 2007, while a separate study from TransUnion this week said the 0.6% who are 90 days late is the lowest in 17 years.

  • Aug 5, 2011
    4:07 PM ET

    Are You Paying Down Debt the Wrong Way?

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    The recent market machinations are the latest indicators that the economic outlook is anything but rosy. For consumers, it’s not a bad time to reassess your financial picture and make a new commitment to saving and paying down debt — the right way.

    A study in a forthcoming Journal of Marketing Research found that consumers often take what can be an expensive approach to paying down debt: They wipe out small balances first rather than focusing on the balance with the highest interest rate. “Our research finds that people really like closing accounts,” says study co-author Cynthia Cryder, an assistant professor of marketing at Washington University in St. Louis, Mo.

  • Jun 13, 2011
    10:13 AM ET

    Is Your City a Bad Financial Influence?

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    There’s new evidence that whether or not you’re trying to keep up with the Joneses, their fiscal fitness — and that of everyone else in your city — has an impact on yours.

    This month, Men’s Health — perhaps better known for its “fattest cities in America” feature and shirtless male cover models – has now graded the financial fitness of 100 American cities. The magazine examined personal bankruptcies, average credit scores, debts, late payment rates, credit usage, homes in the foreclosure process, spending on housing and average 401(k) contributions to award grades from A+ to F. Lincoln, Neb., topped the list and was one of just six to receive an A+. Dead last: Las Vegas. (The opening salvo: “Have you heard about the new high-stakes game in Vegas? It’s a gamble called ‘living there.’”)

    No surprise, the list is heavily influenced by to the poor economy: the bottom 10, along with Sin City, also includes five California cities and two in Florida. It’s not a stretch to guess the housing market collapse and high unemployment rates have led consumers in those troubled areas to put more on their credit cards and less in their retirement accounts.

About Pay Dirt

  • Pay Dirt examines the millions of consumer decisions Americans make every day: What to buy, how much to pay, whether to rave or complain. Lead written by Quentin Fottrell, the blog examines these interactions, providing readers with news, insight and tips on shopping, spending, customer service, and companies that do right – and wrong – by their customers. Send items, questions and comments to quentin.fottrell@dowjones.com or tweet @SMPayDirt.