40 million Americans (16 percent of adults) think they will miss at least one credit card due date in 2019, according to a new WalletHub credit cards surveyreleased today. This indicates that cracks in the foundation of consumers’ finances are beginning to show, under the strain of mounting debt. The average American household already owes a near-record $8,200 to credit card companies, a balance made even more expensive by recent Federal Reserve rate hikes.

With the recent government shutdown drawing attention to the delicate state of many Americans’ finances, WalletHub’s survey examined people’s experiences with late payments and their attitudes regarding the likelihood of future encounters.

Key Stats

  • Credit card issuers can be forgiving…if you ask nicely. 9 in 10 people who have tried to get a credit card late fee waived were successful. Women are 17 percent more likely to have tried than men and are also 2 percent more likely to have been successful.
  • Payment priorities change with age. People aged 18 to 44 are most worried about missing credit card payments. The 45-59 demographic are most concerned about their mortgages, while those over 59 put tax payments as their biggest worry.
  • Men and women react differently to fees. When asked about their attitudes toward getting a late fee, women are more likely than men to feel “irresponsible,” “ashamed” or “punished.” Men are more likely than women to feel “angry” or “indifferent.”
  • Luxury can lead to lapses. People with high income are twice as likely to miss a payment due to forgetfulness as people with low income.
  • Retirees are not concerned. Retirees are five times less likely than people with full-time jobs to think they will miss a credit card payment in 2019.