Many still worry about credit card debt

While a large number of consumers have begun to sort out their finances in the wake of the economic downturn, some are also far more cautious about opening new accounts, particularly those for credit card debt.

Many consumers’ credit card habits have been altered significantly by the recent recession, according to a new study conducted jointly by researchers at Oregon State University and the French university Ecole des Hautes Etudes Commerciales du Nord. In particular, older Americans are now far more likely to pay off their credit card bills every month, though these people typically also had higher incomes.

Meanwhile, most young consumers studied revealed they carried some type of debt, but did not want to, the report said. Often, they felt this was the only way they could afford the things they wanted. The few younger consumers who did not have much credit said they were often discouraged by being rejected for a credit card.

During the recession, many consumers defaulted on their credit card accounts, and therefore were largely locked out of the borrowing system.