Consumers grow more fearful they will miss a payment

Anxiety increases for third month in a row, New York Fed survey finds

Sabrina Karl
Personal Finance Writer
Data whiz and visual storyteller


In its latest reading of Americans’ financial expectations, the New York Fed reports that fears of missing a debt payment are on the rise, and for the third month in a row. 

The October release of the Survey of Consumer Expectations found that Americans’ average expected probability of missing a minimum debt payment over the next three months rose to 13.4 percent, after also climbing the two previous months. 

Just six months earlier, the estimated likelihood of missing a payment dropped to 11.2 percent, its second-lowest reading in the survey’s four-year history. The low-water mark came two years ago, registering at just 10.9 percent in September 2015. 

The current 13.4 percent probability still falls below a recent peak in late 2016, when the reading climbed to 14.9 percent, and it sits far below the survey’s highest reading of 17.2 percent, recorded in late 2013. Still, three upward monthly ticks is signaling increasing financial pessimism among consumers. 

The New York Fed’s Survey of Consumer Expectations is a nationally representative, internet-based survey of a rotating panel of approximately 1,300 heads of household who participate for about a year. Results are released monthly, with the September data announced Oct. 10.

Infographic: Fears of missing payments grow

See related: New delinquencies rising for credit card users, New York Fed finds, Rejection of credit card applications rises, New York Fed finds, More infographics

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Updated: 03-22-2019