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January 14, 2022

How often do you carry a credit card balance?

When it comes to credit card use, each country in the world seems to have their own stereotype.

In many Euro nations, for instance, credit card use is not just frowned up but extremely limited. The French and Germans, as an example, each charge just $300 or less on their credit cards each year, a paltry sum by the planet's standards.

But let's go west, all the way across the Atlantic. When you reach the shores of North America, credit card spending shoots through the roof.

Everyone knows about America's well-documented affair with credit cards, but Canadians aren't much better, and it's nearly as good a bet as it isn't that you carry a credit card balance each month.

According to a new survey, nearly half of Canadians admit to always or often carrying an outstanding credit card balance each month.

*Bing: How to get rid of credit card debt

"If you don't pay off your balance every month, a credit card is really just another form of debt," Douglas Hoyes, a bankruptcy trustee and one of the people behind the survey, said in a statement.

"Let's call (a credit card) what it is: a debt card."

Indeed, for every rewards point and cash-back incentive that make credit cards great to use, there's no denying the danger of swiping them if you can't meet your monthly obligation.

And these are risks that Canadians are uniquely exposed to. Remember those sub-$300 credit card charges for French and German consumers? That's on an annual basis, too.

Canadians, by contrast, charge nearly $7,500 per year on their cards, according to a recent report.

Despite our credit card use, Canadians rarely seek professional help or visit a credit counsellor. According to the survey, only ten per cent have even considered talking to a credit counsellor, despite a further 12 per cent of Canadians admitting they can only make the minimum payment on their cards each month.

How often do you carry a balance on your credit card?



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...