Experian Releases Study on Consumer Credit Card Usage

U.S. Consumers Are Using A High Percentage of Their Available

Credit Card Limit



Mar 01, 2004, 00:00 ET from Experian

    IRVINE, Calif., March 1 /PRNewswire/ -- Experian Consumer Direct(SM), the
 leading provider of online direct-to-consumer credit reports and products,
 today announced the results of a nationwide study on consumer credit card
 usage.  Nationwide and statewide results can be found on Experian's National
 Score Index site at www.NationalScore.com .
 
      -- U.S. consumers have an average of 3.2 credit cards
 
      -- Approximately 46 percent of the U.S. population have at least two
         credit cards and approximately 10 percent of the U.S. population have
         more than 10 credit cards
 
      -- More than 16 percent of the U.S. population use at least 50 percent of
         their available credit
 
      -- U.S. consumers who use at least 50 percent of their available credit
         carry an average of 4.6 credit cards
 
      -- The national average credit score for those with credit card
         utilization of at least 50 percent is 631 compared to the overall
         national average of 678
 
     "Credit cards are a convenient way for consumers to purchase items now and
 pay them off over time," said Charles Chung, vice president of consulting and
 analytics for Experian.  "However, if mismanaged, credit cards can get
 consumers into an unmanageable financial situation that can have a negative
 effect on their credit rating and as a result, future credit will come at a
 higher price or they may even be denied credit."
 
      Tips for consumers on how to better manage their credit cards:
 
      1.  Make sure you have a plan to pay down your balance over a manageable
          period of time (four to six months) before putting significant new
          purchases on that same card.  Keeping your credit card utilization
          below 50 percent will help your credit score.
 
      2.  Be aware of all fees and charges associated with your credit card.
          Make sure your monthly payment more than covers the fees and charges
          in order to lower your overall balance.
 
      3.  It's a common fallacy that closing credit cards will always help your
          credit rating.  Focus more on the amount of available credit being
          utilized, making sure you are not over extending your debt beyond
          levels you can manage.  Closing good accounts could actually hurt
          your credit rating.
 
      4.  Having available credit cards in your wallet can be a good way to
          build your credit history.  They provide a safe and convenient means
          of paying for goods and services and can be useful in case of
          emergency.  However, be mindful that even though you have available
          credit, it doesn't mean you have to use it all.
 
      5.  Due to credit cards being used at physical retail locations as well
          as for online shopping and phone purchases, there is more opportunity
          for your credit card number to be used fraudulently.  Therefore, you
          should monitor your credit card usage, charges on your monthly
          statements, and your overall credit profile on a regular basis.  This
          also helps you keep track of the amount of outstanding debt you have
          and helps you budget and manage your finances.
 
     The Experian study was based on a nationwide sampling of three million
 consumer profiles.  More information about this study, plus information at the
 state level can be found on the Experian National Score Index site at
 www.NationalScore.com .
 
     About Experian Consumer Direct
     Experian Consumer Direct(SM) delivers the Internet's premier credit
 products and services to help consumers better manage their financial lives.
 Its three-bureau report provides consumers instant access to their complete
 credit history from their Experian, Equifax and TransUnion files.  Experian
 Consumer Direct's Internet sites include FreeCreditReport.com,
 ConsumerInfo.com, CreditExpert.com and CreditMatters.com.  The company
 delivered more than 2.7 million credit scores in 2003 and currently, more than
 1.6 million members belong to its credit monitoring service.  Experian
 Consumer Direct has established integrated co-branded partnerships with
 Yahoo!, Microsoft, EarthLink, LendingTree, Quicken, E-LOAN, and E*TRADE Group.
 The company is part of GUS plc (London Stock Exchange: GUS.L).
 
     For further information please contact: Heather Greer, Experian Consumer
 Direct, +1-714-830-7756, heather.greer@experian.com
 
 

SOURCE Experian
    IRVINE, Calif., March 1 /PRNewswire/ -- Experian Consumer Direct(SM), the
 leading provider of online direct-to-consumer credit reports and products,
 today announced the results of a nationwide study on consumer credit card
 usage.  Nationwide and statewide results can be found on Experian's National
 Score Index site at www.NationalScore.com .
 
      -- U.S. consumers have an average of 3.2 credit cards
 
      -- Approximately 46 percent of the U.S. population have at least two
         credit cards and approximately 10 percent of the U.S. population have
         more than 10 credit cards
 
      -- More than 16 percent of the U.S. population use at least 50 percent of
         their available credit
 
      -- U.S. consumers who use at least 50 percent of their available credit
         carry an average of 4.6 credit cards
 
      -- The national average credit score for those with credit card
         utilization of at least 50 percent is 631 compared to the overall
         national average of 678
 
     "Credit cards are a convenient way for consumers to purchase items now and
 pay them off over time," said Charles Chung, vice president of consulting and
 analytics for Experian.  "However, if mismanaged, credit cards can get
 consumers into an unmanageable financial situation that can have a negative
 effect on their credit rating and as a result, future credit will come at a
 higher price or they may even be denied credit."
 
      Tips for consumers on how to better manage their credit cards:
 
      1.  Make sure you have a plan to pay down your balance over a manageable
          period of time (four to six months) before putting significant new
          purchases on that same card.  Keeping your credit card utilization
          below 50 percent will help your credit score.
 
      2.  Be aware of all fees and charges associated with your credit card.
          Make sure your monthly payment more than covers the fees and charges
          in order to lower your overall balance.
 
      3.  It's a common fallacy that closing credit cards will always help your
          credit rating.  Focus more on the amount of available credit being
          utilized, making sure you are not over extending your debt beyond
          levels you can manage.  Closing good accounts could actually hurt
          your credit rating.
 
      4.  Having available credit cards in your wallet can be a good way to
          build your credit history.  They provide a safe and convenient means
          of paying for goods and services and can be useful in case of
          emergency.  However, be mindful that even though you have available
          credit, it doesn't mean you have to use it all.
 
      5.  Due to credit cards being used at physical retail locations as well
          as for online shopping and phone purchases, there is more opportunity
          for your credit card number to be used fraudulently.  Therefore, you
          should monitor your credit card usage, charges on your monthly
          statements, and your overall credit profile on a regular basis.  This
          also helps you keep track of the amount of outstanding debt you have
          and helps you budget and manage your finances.
 
     The Experian study was based on a nationwide sampling of three million
 consumer profiles.  More information about this study, plus information at the
 state level can be found on the Experian National Score Index site at
 www.NationalScore.com .
 
     About Experian Consumer Direct
     Experian Consumer Direct(SM) delivers the Internet's premier credit
 products and services to help consumers better manage their financial lives.
 Its three-bureau report provides consumers instant access to their complete
 credit history from their Experian, Equifax and TransUnion files.  Experian
 Consumer Direct's Internet sites include FreeCreditReport.com,
 ConsumerInfo.com, CreditExpert.com and CreditMatters.com.  The company
 delivered more than 2.7 million credit scores in 2003 and currently, more than
 1.6 million members belong to its credit monitoring service.  Experian
 Consumer Direct has established integrated co-branded partnerships with
 Yahoo!, Microsoft, EarthLink, LendingTree, Quicken, E-LOAN, and E*TRADE Group.
 The company is part of GUS plc (London Stock Exchange: GUS.L).
 
     For further information please contact: Heather Greer, Experian Consumer
 Direct, +1-714-830-7756, heather.greer@experian.com
 
 SOURCE  Experian