According to an online poll conducted by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (which exists to encourage you to set up a payment plan, but that doesn’t necessarily make their data suspect), Americans are more likely to pay more toward their credit card debt since their statements were re-designed to show just how awfully long it would take to reach a zero balance if they only paid the minimum.
I was super-excited to see my first re-designed statement a couple months ago, and while I still think it (and we consumers) could benefit more from seeing a graph with thick red lines instead of just a number, it seems to be having a pronounced effect. The NFCC asked the following question on their home page and got what look to be statistically significant results:
Credit card statements now provide a snapshot of how long it would take me to get out of debt if I only paid the minimum amount due each month. This information…
A. Has inspired me to pay more each month = 25%
B. Makes no difference because I’m already paying as much as I can each month = 55%
C. Makes no difference because I already pay my balance in full each month = 7%
D. Made me call the credit counseling agency number listed on my statement = 12%
Note: The NFCC’s April FLOI was conducted via the homepage of the NFCC Web site from April 1-30, 2010 and answered by 2,003 individuals.