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Thursday
Dec062012

Credit Card Debt Is Top Worry, Survey Finds

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Santa may be shimmying down the chimney in less than a month, but chances are he won’t be laden with as many gifts as in years past, and he probably won’t be charging the ones he is bringing.

That’s because credit card debt continues to be the biggest financial worry of the year, according to a November study conducted by myFICO, the consumer division of FICO, the company that invented the FICO score.  (The FICO score, lest you wonder, is the number that summarizes your credit risk.)

While half of the 2,400 consumers interviewed in the unscientific online survey said they will rely on credit cards for all their holiday purchases, a third said they would only use credit cards for more expensive gifts.

One-third of consumers said they’re cutting back on their holiday spending: Only 20 percent are thinking about opening new credit card accounts, and about 65 percent plan to charge less than $500 on the ones they have. A quarter of  respondents said they’ll need more than three months to pay off their 2012 holiday expenses, compared with 18 percent who responded to a similar survey in 2010.

Finally, 62 percent of respondents said they were worried about identity theft or fraud during the holidays. How to protect yourself?

“Regularly monitoring your bank statement and credit report for errors can be instrumental for identifying fraudulent charges and maintaining an accurate credit report,” myFICO spokesperson Anthony Sprauve told ABC News.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio