Gephardt: Feeling The Holiday Pressure To Spend? Credit Card Charges Could Stretch Holiday Debt For Years

Nov 17, 2020, 6:30 PM | Updated: 6:38 pm
Credit card users nationally are willing to take on credit card debt so Santa is busy this pandemic...
Credit card users nationally are willing to take on credit card debt so Santa is busy this pandemic Christmas. (Matt Gephardt, KSL-TV)
(Matt Gephardt, KSL-TV)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – If you’re planning to rack up charges on your credit card for your holiday shopping, new research shows you’re not alone.

People going into debt during the holidays certainly isn’t anything new. But with a raging pandemic and economic uncertainty, will it be harder than usual for folks to climb back out of the hole?

2020 has been lousy for a lot of folks and kids are no exception: Closed schools, canceled birthday parties, even Disneyland – the happiest place on Earth – has been shuttered.

Now, there is growing fear from economists that parents may try to make up for all these setbacks and others by breaking the bank during the holidays.

“I think there’s a lot of pressure,” said Ted Rossman, a credit card industry analyst with CreditCards.com. “(They) have young kids but they also have other financial priorities, like paying off student loans, maybe buying a house. I think a lot of these things go together and they kind of squeeze people’s finances.”

Rossman’s firm recently conducted a survey and found millions of Americans believe going into debt this Christmas season is OK, even as the pandemic and economic uncertainty looms.


Forty-six percent of cardholders with children under the age of 18 believe that holiday spending justifies going into debt, compared to 32% of cardholders who don’t have kids. Folks with children under the age of 18 are nearly twice as likely as non-parent cardholders (61% vs. 34%) to be willing to go into debt for the holidays.

Rossman said the data shows dangerous thinking.

“Yes, a lot of parents are feeling that way,” Rossman answered when we spoke about parents feeling the pressure to make the holidays great when the year was, well, lousy. “And, what I would say to that is try not to feel that pressure from society or other people.”

Rossman pointed out that the average credit card rate is about 16%, though for many it is higher.

“Even at 16%, if you’re only making those minimum payments, $1,000 is going to take you five years to pay off,” Rossman calculated. “And it’s going to add about $440 in interest.”

And Rossman said other surveys have shown that most people cherish experiences over presents and while experiences have been fleeting this year, they’ll be back.

“What did I get last Christmas?’ A lot of us don’t even remember,” he said. “I think that’s true for adults and kids – what we cherish are the more intangible things.”

There is good news when it comes to credit card debt in 2020, even with millions of Americans out of work. Nationally, credit card debt is down by about 10%.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

KSL Investigates

fireworks injuries study...
Matt Gephardt

Study: More people need E.R. care after playing with fireworks

A report from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission may throw a wet blanket on your 4th of July plans – or at least make you think about bringing a wet blanket with you just in case your family’s celebration adds to a troubling trend.
2 days ago
Peter Ingle talking to Matt Gephardt...
Matt Gephardt & Cindy St. Clair, KSL TV

Too risky to insure? Why your homeowner’s insurance could go up in smoke

There are good reasons for an insurance company to drop your homeowner’s coverage. But what happens when you’re dropped for something you have no control over? KSL Investigator Matt Gephardt went out to find: can they do that?
3 days ago
FILE - Thousand gather at the Utah State Capitol to support a woman's right to choose. (KSL TV)...
Daniella Rivera

‘It was hastily passed’: Medical, legal experts raise concerns about Utah’s abortion trigger law

Senate Bill 174, passed by the Utah Legislature in 2020, was crafted, in part, to send a message. Now, medical and legal experts are sounding alarm bells about how it will work in practice.
6 days ago
FILE - Credit and deposit cards on a computer keyboard. Electronic commerce, business. Online shopp...
Matt Gephardt

Gephardt Busts Inflation: Americans shy away from using credit cards abroad, missing out on best exchange rates

As COVID-19 wanes, travel agencies are seeing a massive spike in bookings as folks look to spread their wings and travel abroad.
6 days ago
KSL-TV's Matt Gephardt talks to the couple to see how this accident happen....
Matt Gephardt and Cindy St. Clair, KSL TV

Utah couple gets hit with sky-high surprise air ambulance bill

A perk of hitting that out-of-pocket max limit on your health insurance is usually, your insurance covers all other expenses for the year 100%. When a Highland couple continued to get bills, they asked KSL Investigator Matt Gephardt for help.
9 days ago
Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are all making news with wild up-and-down swings in value. (File...
Matt Gephardt and Sloan Schrage, KSL TV

Congress considers crypto legislation: What you need to know

It's been a rough year for cryptocurrencies. Prices reached record heights this past November, but by last week, crypto has lost $2 trillion of its market value. Now, there's a new plan for the Feds to regulate cryptocurrencies.
10 days ago

Sponsored Articles

hand holding 3d rendering mobile connect with security camera for security solutions...
Les Olson

Wondering what security solutions are right for you? Find out more about how to protect your surroundings

Physical security helps everyone. Keep your employees, clients, and customers safe with security solutions that protect your workplace.
Many rattan pendant lights, hay hang from the ceiling.Traditional and simple lighting....
Lighting Design

The Best Ways to Style Rattan Pendant Lighting in Your Home

Rattan pendant lights create a rustic and breezy feel, and are an easy way to incorporate this hot trend into your home decor.
Earth day 2022...

How Are You Celebrating Earth Day 2022? | 4 Simple Ways to Celebrate Earth Day and Protect the Environment

Earth Day is a great time to reflect on how we can be more environmentally conscious. Here are some tips for celebrating Earth Day.
Get Money Online...

More Ways to Get Money Online Right Now in Your Spare Time

Here are 4 easy ways that you can get more money online if you have some free time and want to make a little extra on the side.
Lighting trends 2022...

Lighting Trends 2022 | 5 Beautiful Home Lighting Trends You Can Expect to See this Year and Beyond

This is where you can see the latest lighting trends for 2022 straight from the Lightovation Show at the Dallas World Trade Center.
What Can't You Throw Away in the Trash...

What Can’t You Throw Away in the Trash? | 5 Things You Shouldn’t Throw in to Your Trash Can

What can't you throw away in the trash? Believe it or not, there are actually many items that shouldn't be thrown straight into the trash.
Gephardt: Feeling The Holiday Pressure To Spend? Credit Card Charges Could Stretch Holiday Debt For Years