Americans In Debt Interview with WLW Radio Cincinnati
CreditCards.com Senior Industry Analyst Matt Schulz spoke on Thursday, December 10, 2015 with Bill Cunningham of WLW Radio Cincinnati about the December 2015 Americans In Debt survey. The interview and transcript are below.
Bill Cunningham: America continues to polarize into a nation of haves and have nots when it comes to credit card debt. According to CreditCards.com, more than one in five Americans with debt believe they will never pay them off according to a survey, that’s slightly up from 18% last year, now it’s 21%. 22% of all Americans say they don’t have any debt at all, which is up from 14%. So some are getting out of debt, some are getting deeper into debt, a man who has perspective on this is Matt Schultz of CreditCards.com, and Matt Schulz, welcome, I think for the first time, to the Bill Cunningham show.
Matt Schulz: Thanks for having me.
Cunningham: Give me an overview of credit card debt in American. We’re putting so much on the plastic today and not paying it off. Give me the overview.
Schulz: Well, credit card debt is going up, but the good news is that it still seems to be under control for the most part because late payments are still pretty low, and we’re actually seeing a trend where more people are paying off their balances of every month, so that’s some positive stuff.
Cunningham: Is it kind of a problem, if you’re an American that charges credit – charges on the cards, and say within three months, it’s not paid off, is that a problem?
Schulz: Yeah, job number one for anybody with a credit card is to pay your balance off as soon as you can. If you can pay it off every month, you can really make it work for you and get cash back and, you know, miles and points and all that sort of stuff, but it doesn’t take long for the math to work against you.
Cunningham: Are there some credit cards better than other credit cards?
Schulz: It all depends on what you are trying to do. If you are somebody who never flies anywhere, then you shouldn’t get an airline card, you should probably get like a cash back card. If you’re somebody who – who – who goes to a specific gas station or something, or a specific grocery store or a specific store all the time, then that could be better for you. It really all depends on your lifestyle and what you want out of the card.
Cunningham: Let me give you a concrete example. I have two credit cards, and I go to Best Buy because I want to buy like three new TV sets, and the three TV sets are like $4,500 for all three of them, and they say to me – and I’m rich and famous, so I can write a check, but I’m thinking I better not do that because they’re telling me that if I open up a Best Buy credit card I get 10% off my purchases, so I say okay, I open up a Best Buy credit card, and then it came back, it was like $3,900, I paid it off. So doesn’t it make sense to pay those things off – does it make sense to get that benefit and then pay it off?
Schulz: Yeah, it absolutely can, but you absolutely have to make sure that you pay that balance off at the end of the month or before your zero percent interest period kicks in, because then you could end up getting hit with really high rates. But if you pay that off at the end of every month, you can really get some good benefit out of it.
Cunningham: Another one is this 2% cash back card, I’m solicited for this, all my purchases, I get 2% back. How do you like that one?
Schulz: That’s really one of the better ones, and especially it’s a good one because you don’t have to chase after rotating categories, you don’t have to do a whole lot of work, it’s just you make the purchase, you pay it off, you get the cash back, it’s simple.
Cunningham: What credit cards do you have?
Schulz: The most recent one I got was the Chase Sapphire Preferred card, and I got that partially because it had a really good signup bonus, and the miles that you have on that card, you don’t have to use to pay off your statement balance or anything, and it can transfer to a bunch of different hotels or airlines, so it makes it really flexible.
Cunningham: Do you have any questions for me about politics, sports, world capitals, something that’s confused you over the years?
Schulz: Yeah, how is Andy Dalton going to do in the playoffs this year? Is this the year he turns it around?
Cunningham: Well, right now, he’s the highest rated quarterback in the no fun league. He is tied with Payton Manning as the only quarterback in NFL history to throw for more than 3,000 yards in his first five seasons. We will find out in the next four weeks, Pittsburgh here, then at Denver, then they play San Francisco and whatever. If they can beat Pittsburgh here, they go to Denver and beat them there, Andy Dalton is ready for the Hall of Fame. If not, he will not be ready for the Hall of Fame.
Schulz: He’s got to get it done in the post-season, though, I think.
Cunningham: Matt Schulz, what is your website, if any?
Schulz: I’m with CreditCards.com.
Cunningham: All right, I’ll be in touch with you as events unfold. Thank you very much, and Merry Christmas.
Schulz: Thanks, you too.