Millions of Americans have made significant strides in reining in their outstanding credit card balances and putting themselves on a more secure financial footing since the end of the recession, but these issues are still a concern for many.
Having the ability to save money both for the short term and for retirement, as well as being able to reduce their various outstanding debts, are some of the primary concerns for consumers, even as many feel they're on better financial ground than they were in the past, according to the latest Chase Pulse of the Consumer Survey. In all, 65 percent of those polled said they believe their personal finances bottomed out at some point in the past, and are now either holding steady or improving. That's up from 56 percent who felt the same way a year ago.
Despite having made that headway with their finances, 40 percent of consumers said their credit card debts, mortgage balances, and rent remain the primary concern they have in their everyday lives, the report said. But at the same time, 74 percent said that their main concern was that they simply didn't have enough money in savings, and the latter concern could potentially play a major role in worrying about the former if a financial emergency were to arise.
In all, 49 percent of those polled said that, if they were faced with an unexpected situation that cost them $1,500, they would have to put that balance on their credit card, the report said. However, of that group, there was an even 50-50 split between those who would be able to pay off that balance right away, and those who would have to do so over a period of time. Of those who would need more than a month to pay the $1,500 back, 83 percent said they would formulate a plan to pay it off.
Fortunately, many consumers note that technology is becoming a major help in allowing them to more ably deal with their finances in a hands-on way, the report said. In all, 70 percent say that banking and credit card websites are the most valuable tool they have to manage their finances, and 24 percent say that they also find mobile banking and credit card apps to be valuable as well.
"All signs point to mobile payments and online banking increasing at a rapid pace over the next few years," said Eileen Serra, chief executive officer at Chase Card Services. "Chase continues to make a significant investment in mobile to ensure our customers have secure and seamless on-the-go technology to manage their finances."
Consumers' efforts to pare back their credit card debts have been largely successful since the end of the recession, and instances of both delinquency and default have been hovering near all-time lows for some time now.