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

KSL Investigates

Matt Gephardt with Hung Tran who is explaining why he has been trying to get his social security be...

Matt Gephardt

Get Gephardt helps retiree deadlocked with Social Security over lost birth certificate

The United States has been home for Hung Tran nearly 50 years. He came here as a refugee fleeing war-torn Vietnam in 1975.

31 minutes ago

Judge in robes sits in courtroom...

Annie Knox and Daniella Rivera, KSL TV

Judge rules public gets to see Utah attorney general’s work calendar

A judge sided with KSL, finding the Utah Attorney General’s work calendar is a record the public has a right to see.

21 hours ago

FILE: Credit and deposit cards on a computer keyboard. Electronic commerce, business. Online shoppi...

Matt Gephardt and Sloan Schrage

Utah family says their bank refuses to reimburse fraudulent charges

A Taylorsville family says a hacker drained thousands of dollars out of their bank accounts and left them overdrawn by tens of thousands more. They thought federal banking rules protected them, but they say their bank has refused to reimburse them for those losses.

2 days ago

Judge Patrick Corum hears arguments about Attorney General Sean Reyes’ work calendar on Monday, F...

Annie Knox and Daniella Rivera, KSL TV

Judge rules public can see Utah attorney general’s work calendar

KSL and the Utah Attorney General’s Office squared off in court over whether the A.G.’s calendar should be publicly available.

2 days ago

(KSL TV)...

Annie Knox and Daniella Rivera

5 things to know about KSL’s legal fight for transparency

How much should Utahns get to know about how elected officials spend their time on the clock? The question is at the center of a legal fight taking KSL to court Monday.

2 days ago

Homeowner Mark Shea tells KSL’s Matt Gephardt he paid someone to build a deck who abandoned the j...

Matt Gephardt

Get Gephardt: Homeowners ask why authorities can’t shut down an unlicensed contractor

Two Salt Lake County homeowners hired and paid someone to build decks for their homes but say he left the jobs unfinished. Turns out, he’s been cited by the state for not having a contractor’s license before.

6 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light Up Your Home With These Top Lighting Trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for Hassle-Free Computer Repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Close up of finger on keyboard button with number 11 logo...

PC Laptops

7 Reasons Why You Should Upgrade Your Laptop to Windows 11

Explore the benefits of upgrading to Windows 11 for a smoother, more secure, and feature-packed computing experience.

Stylish room interior with beautiful Christmas tree and decorative fireplace...

Lighting Design

Create a Festive Home with Our Easy-to-Follow Holiday Prep Guide

Get ready for festive celebrations! Discover expert tips to prepare your home for the holidays, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere for unforgettable moments.

Battery low message on mobile device screen. Internet and technology concept...

PC Laptops

9 Tips to Get More Power Out of Your Laptop Battery

Get more power out of your laptop battery and help it last longer by implementing some of these tips from our guide.

Users display warnings about the use of artificial intelligence (AI), access to malicious software ...

Les Olson

How to Stay Safe from Cybersecurity Threats

Read our tips for reading for how to respond to rising cybersecurity threats in 2023 and beyond to keep yourself and your company safe.

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