Americans rely less on credit cards, says Gallup survey

Almost a third of Americans don't have a credit card, the most since Gallup began tracking the issue in 2001, when 22 percent said they didn't own a card.

And for the first time since 2001, almost two-thirds of Americans always or usually pay off their credit cards each month. Add to that, fewer of us (a third) leave a balance month to month, compared to 2001, when that figure was 41 percent.

Put it all together and the Gallup Poll indicates that Americans are relying less on credit cards.

Fewer people own three or more cards. Today, it's 34 percent, compared to 43 percent in 2001. Still, some Americans remain hooked on cards, with 7 percent of us having seven or more -- a percentage that has held steady over the years.

When you look only at card users, debt is up slightly, by about $150, to $2,426. But if you add in all consumers, including those who don't have cards, debt is down by more than $500 compared to 2006 figures. Gallup says this suggests that while debt has not changed for those who use cards, there is a decline overall because fewer Americans own cards.

The poll used a random sample of 1,026 adults living in the United States. The interviews were conducted by telephone from April 3-6, 2014.


See related: Americans say they'd rather save than spend, More infographics

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Updated: 03-25-2019