Men Are Better Than Women at Managing Credit Cards

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A new survey shows men are more responsible when it comes to credit card behavior.

In a battle of the sexes, men win, at least when it comes to responsible credit card behavior.

According to new BMO Harris Bank survey, men (at 18 percent) and women (19 percent) were similar in their tendency to carry a balance on their credit cards. But that’s where the similarities end.

While 39 percent of men reported paying off their credit card balance on a regular basis, just 27 percent of women could say the same. Keeping that in mind, it makes sense that 35 percent of women, compared with 22 percent of men, said paying off credit cards is a major financial concern.

Also, “women were more likely than men to say they try to pay off their credit card every month but quite often are left carrying a balance (22 percent versus 16 percent),” said BMO Harris Bank.

Other survey findings include:

  • Paying bills. When it comes to paying bills (other than credit cards), three-quarters of men said they always pay their bills on time, compared with 59 percent of women. This is significant because paying bills late hurts your credit, plus it can be expensive as late fees and interest add up.
  • Student loans. At $44,248, men carry a higher student loan balance than women, with $34,208. But men (17 percent) and women (20 percent) are comparably concerned about paying off their student loan debt.

Overall, Americans are better with credit cards today than in the past. Credit card balances have decreased by 2 percent so far this year.

Michael Gregory, head of U.S. economics at BMO Capital Markets, said that since the Great Recession, Americans are more cautious when using credit cards. He added:

Consumers are now much more aware that credit card loans tend to be more expensive than other forms of borrowing and escalating loan balances can quickly sneak up on you. In turn, consumers are paying off their card balances more determinedly and drawing down less of their credit limits, one of the paths to improved personal credit ratings.

Are you surprised to see the gender gaps in credit card behavior? Share your thoughts below or on our Facebook page.

Now, here’s a video we shot in Times Square. It’s a pop quiz on credit cards: See how you do.

Stacy Johnson

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