70 Million Americans Are Making a Dangerous Move With Their Credit Cards

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KEY POINTS

  • A recent survey found as many as 70 million Americans are relying on credit cards more than normal to help them pay bills.
  • Paying bills with credit cards could be a financial disaster.
  • You'll make all your purchases more expensive and it'll be harder to live on a budget later.


If you're one of them, you could come to regret it.

Credit cards can be either a great tool that helps you improve your finances over the long term -- or they can turn your financial life into a disaster. It all comes down to what you do with them.

Unfortunately, millions of Americans may be using their cards in a way that could be dangerous to their financial health over the long run.

Millions of Americans are relying on their credit cards for the wrong reasons

According to a recent study from Ramsey Solutions, an estimated 25% of all Americans have indicated they are relying more than normal on their credit cards to help them to cover the bills. This amounts to about 70 million people total who are turning to credit to cover everyday essentials.

The same study also revealed that close to 100 million Americans have indicated they are either struggling with their finances or are in crisis already. Since this study was conducted in the third quarter of 2022, when inflation has surged and the prices of basic necessities like gas and groceries have climbed to recent records, this isn't a surprise.

Still, it's troubling that so many people are relying on debt to make ends meet as this could have consequences both in the short term and in the long term.

Why is using credit cards to pay the bills so dangerous?

Using credit cards to help pay the bills can be problematic for a whole host of reasons.

First, if you're using your credit cards to help cover your everyday costs, this likely means you aren't paying off your balance in full when your card bill comes due. If you had the money to repay your balance in full, then you wouldn't be relying on your cards so much to make ends meet.

If you don't pay off your balance in full every single time you get a credit card statement, you're going to be charged interest on your purchases. That means everything you buy -- which is likely already costlier due to inflation -- will come at an even higher price. If you're struggling to afford things without tacking interest onto them, paying financing charges certainly isn't going to make things easier.

Aside from the fact you'll be making your purchases cost more in the near term by borrowing on credit cards to pay for them, you'll also make life harder for yourself going forward. If you're committing now to paying back creditors in the future for purchases you're making today, you will have less money available to you later on due to the fact this monthly payment will still be with you.

For as long as you have that monthly payment, it will be harder to live on what you earn since the money you earn will be partly used to pay for your past living expenses.

For these key reasons, if you're currently turning to credit cards to help cover the bills, you'll likely want to try to stop doing that as soon as possible. It will no doubt be difficult since you probably wouldn't rely on your cards if you didn't feel like you had to. But if you can find solutions like temporarily cutting your budget or picking up some extra hours at your job or side hustle, you'll end up a lot better off in the long run.

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