Sign up for our FREE Monthly Email Newsletter
In addition to keeping in the financial know, you may be interested in checking your credit score and report.
¹The credit scores provided under the offers described here use the Equifax Credit Score, which is a proprietary credit model developed by Equifax. The Equifax Credit Score and 3-Bureau scores are each based on the Equifax Credit Score model, but calculated using the information in your Equifax, Experian and TransUnion credit files. The Equifax Credit Score is intended for your own educational use. It is also commercially available to third parties along with numerous other credit scores and models in the marketplace. Please keep in mind third parties are likely to use a different score when evaluating your creditworthiness. Also, third parties will take into consideration items other than your credit score or information found in your credit file, such as your income.
²The Automatic Fraud Alert feature is made available to consumers by Equifax Information Services LLC and fulfilled on its behalf by Equifax Consumer Services LLC.
³Equifax Credit Report Control™ is only available while you have a current subscription to Equifax Complete Premier. Locking your credit file with Equifax Credit Report Control will prevent access to your Equifax credit file by certain third parties, such as credit grantors or other companies and agencies. Credit Report Control will not prevent access to your credit file at any other credit reporting agency, and will not prevent access to your Equifax credit file by companies like Equifax Personal Solutions which provide you with access to your credit report or credit score or monitor your credit file; Federal, state and local government agencies; companies reviewing your application for employment; companies that have a current account or relationship with you, and collection agencies acting on behalf of those whom you owe; for fraud detection and prevention purposes; and companies that wish to make pre-approved offers of credit or insurance to you. To opt out of such pre-approved offers, visit www.optoutprescreen.com/.
4We will require you to provide your payment information when you sign up and we will immediately charge your card $4.95. After that, we will charge the card $19.95 for each month you continue your subscription. You may cancel at any time; however, we do not provide partial month refunds.
Equifax® is a registered trademark and Equifax Complete™ Premier is a trademark of Equifax, Inc. © 2014, Equifax Inc., Atlanta, Georgia. All rights reserved.
Are you one of those shoppers who heads out after Thanksgiving dinner to stand in line outside of department stores, making a sport out of getting the best shopping deals? It should come as no surprise to you that each year, credit card balances increase around November, December, and January.
How seasonal shoppers affect the credit card market
Credit card balances tend to fluctuate throughout the year according to seasonal spending habits like Black Friday and Christmas shopping sprees. Some people save their credit cards specifically for end-of-the-year shopping and may instead stick to cash for the other nine months of the year.
With these seasonal shoppers added to the credit card market, the total balance on credit cards increases, but the average balance doesn’t increase. The seasonal shoppers’ balances are likely not as high as the regular credit card users’ balances. Seasonal shoppers aren’t putting all of their everyday purchases on a credit card—it’s probably just their holiday shopping purchases that make up their balances.
The current trends in credit card balances
However, as we’ve talked about before, consumers overall are deleveraging, or paying off debt. Total holiday season balances are lower now than they have been in the past few years. In 2011, credit card balances have been lower than in the last few years, and this year looks to be the bottom. I predict shopping is going to pick back up in the next few years.
I also think we probably won’t see 2011 holiday shopping credit card balances reach the level of 2010 holiday shopping balances, but 2011 overall balances are trending toward last year’s levels. I’ll reserve judgment until the end of the year, but I hope this is a sign the credit card market is bouncing back.
For those of you who do have plans to do a bit of holiday shopping on your credit cards, check out strategies for paying off debt as shared by Mechel Glass from CredAbility.org.
What are your holiday shopping plans? Do you use a credit card for your holiday purchases? Do you pay the balance off right away, or pay it off over time? I try to write out a shopping list and a budget, and stick to it, for my holiday purchases. I’d love to hear your holiday shopping suggestions in the comments.
The information contained in this blog post is designed to generally educate and inform visitors to the Equifax Finance Blog. The blog posts do not give, and should not be assumed to provide, personalized tax, investment, real estate, legal, retirement, credit, personal financial, or other professional advice. Before making any financial decision, you should always consult with the appropriate professionals who can explain your options, rights, and legal responsibilities, and advise you on any tax, legal, credit, or business implications that may result from those decisions. The views and opinions expressed by the authors of blog posts are their own views and may not be the views or opinions of Equifax, Inc. and/or its affiliates.
Equifax maintains this interactive forum for education and information purposes in order to allow individuals to share their relevant knowledge and opinions with other members and visitors. We encourage you to participate in discussions about personal finance issues and other topics of interest to this community, but please read our commenting guidelines first. Equifax reserves the right to monitor postings to the forum and comments will be published at our discretion. Do you have questions or comments about your Equifax credit report or customer-service issues regarding an Equifax product? If so, please contact Equifax directly. All opinions and information expressed or shared in blog comments are solely those of the person submitting the comments, and don't necessarily represent the views of Equifax or its management.