Credit card concerns are starting to tick up last month, according to a recent survey, even after debt levels have dropped over the past year.
The share of Americans who weren’t confident they could pay their credit card balance in full hit its highest level since last summer, according to LendingTree’s findings based on a survey of 779 people. The percentage of those who were confident fell to levels not seen since March 2020, when the pandemic took hold of the economy.
The drop in confidence was especially pronounced among women, the survey found. Women were 13 percentage points more likely than men to put their confidence at 1 or 2 out of 5, the two lowest confidence rankings.
“Women aren't as confident and they also tend to be a little more cautious, and conservative financially because they have to be,” Matt Schulz, LendingTree credit card expert, told Yahoo Money.
“It's everything from pay inequality, more childcare responsibility, the pink tax or being more likely to be the head of the single parent household,” Schulz said. “There's just an awful lot stacked against women in their financial lives.”
The pandemic has been a particular financial burden for women.
Many of the job losses during the pandemic hit industries that traditionally employ more women. At home, women have also taken on more child care responsibilities when schools closed down. A 2021 study by McKinsey and LeanIn.Org found that 1 in 4 women are contemplating quitting their work or stepping back from their careers versus 1 in 5 men.
Despite the wavering confidence, more than half of Americans still rated themselves at least a 4 out of 5 for confidence in paying off their balances in full. How long the confidence lasts remains still to be seen.
Read more: How to manage your post-pandemic spending
“We're definitely going to see spending increase, because that's just what we do as a country,” Schulz said.
Staying on top of credit card balances can be hard and tackling big balances can seem near impossible at times. If your credit score is still good, a 0% APR balance transfer can help knock down the high interest you are paying.
You can also call your credit card company and ask for a lower interest rate. If you are in a deep hole, Schulz recommended credit counseling, which can help you get back on top of your finances and help set up a plan of attack with your creditors.
“The most important thing for people, for people who are struggling with debt, is to understand that they have options,” Schulz said.