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Americans less likely than Europeans to cut spending when strapped for cash

ING study shows U.S. consumers also have a strong tendency to turn to credit cards in times of need


When their bank accounts are tapped out, Americans are less likely to tighten their financial belts than both Europeans and Australians, according to a new study. And they’re more likely than many other European countries to pull out their credit cards when strapped for cash.

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When their bank accounts are tapped out, Americans are less likely to tighten their financial belts than both Europeans and Australians.

The findings come from ING’s International Survey on Savings, which found that among the residents of European countries who run out of money “occasionally” or “most of the time,” almost three-quarters (74 percent) say they respond by reducing their spending.

See related:  Should you use a credit card as your emergency fund?

Among Australians, the share was slightly lower at 70 percent, but for Americans, only 65 percent said they attempt to cut costs, ranking the U.S. 11th out of the survey’s 15 countries. Only Belgium, Turkey, the Netherlands and Romania reported lower percentages, coming in at 63 to 64 percent.

At the top of the scale for cinching their purse strings are residents of Italy (83 percent), Luxembourg (82 percent), France and the Czech Republic (both 81 percent).

Making up shortfalls with credit cards was about as common for Americans as for Australians and Europeans as a whole (28 to 29 percent). But drilling down to individual countries reveals the U.S. is the sixth-most likely country of the 15 to draw on credit cards.

In contrast, only 14 percent of the Dutch said they rely on credit cards to make ends meet, while the French and the Czechs registered next lowest at 18 percent.

ING’s survey was conducted online by Ipsos in mid-October to early November 2018. Sampling about 14,700 residents from 15 countries, the demographically weighted results were released in February 2019.

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