US and UK Payment Behaviours More Similar Than Different, says Auriemma Consulting Group
OREANDA-NEWS. As the UK prepares to vote on whether to remain in the European Union, Britons debate the strength of their ties to Europe. When it comes to their financial behaviour, however, they are clearly more similar to their American, rather than their Continental, cousins. While usage of credit cards in European markets such as France and Germany remain stubbornly low, both the US and the UK are reporting rapidly mounting levels of credit card debt, approaching levels not seen since the heady days preceding the financial crisis.(1) And while the US is usually seen as the poster child for "buy now, pay later," UK cardholders aren't so different, nearly equally likely to revolve balances on at least one card, according to newly released research from Auriemma Consulting Group (ACG), which conducted parallel studies in both markets.
Although on opposite sides of the northern Atlantic, payment behaviour in the US and the UK is eerily similar, save a few key differences. It's true, on average, US consumers hold more credit cards than their UK counterparts (2.3 vs. 1.9), but an equal proportion (26%) of each market frequently carries a balance on them. American and British consumers are also nearly identical when looking at balance transfers (10% vs. 13%), missed payments (11% vs. 13%), and credit card inactivity (24% vs. 27%) within the past year. "We generally find the same things important, but perhaps to varying degrees," says Jaclyn Holmes, the ACG senior manager who directed the study. "This also translates when examining payment behaviour. US cardholders, for example, are more likely to be incentivised by rewards or cashback offers, but both populations select this as the top offer that would make them use less frequently used cards more."
A majority of consumers in both markets (65% in the US, 59% in the UK) cite the most obvious reason, "high spending," for revolving balances. These revolvers try to pay off the credit card with the highest APR first, but UK cardholders more frequently cite allocating extra funds to paying off the card they use most frequently (22% vs. 16%). "Britons don't want to lose access to that credit line," says Holmes. "Twice as many UK cardholders say they rely on borrowing to afford day-to-day purchases so paying down that card first makes sense." 16%). "Britons don't want to lose access to that credit line," says Holmes. "Twice as many UK cardholders say they rely on borrowing to afford day-to-day purchases so paying down that card first makes sense."
Cardbeat US was conducted online within the United States by an independent field service provider on behalf of Auriemma Consulting Group (ACG) in April 2016, among 800 U.S. credit card users. Cardbeat UK was conducted online among 500 credit cardholders in the U.K. during March 2016. The number of interviews completed is sufficient to allow for statistical significance testing between sub-groups at the 95% confidence level ± 5%, unless otherwise noted. The purpose of the research was not disclosed nor did the respondents know the criteria for qualifying.
About Auriemma Consulting Group
ACG is a boutique management consulting firm with specialised focus on the Payments and Lending space. We deliver actionable solutions and insights that add value to our clients' business activities across a broad set of industry topics and disciplines. Founded in 1984, ACG has grown from a one-man shop to a nearly 50-person firm with offices in New York and London.