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Consumers carrying lower balances on their cards, survey reveals

Fewer Baby Boomers own premium cards and consumers of all ages carry lower balances on their credit cards if any balance at all, according to a new survey.

The Auriemma Consulting Group surveyed 502 U.S. credit cardholders in June to examine credit card habits among the ages of 48 to 64 (Baby Boomers), ages 31 to 47 (Gen Xers) and ages 20 to 30 (Millennials), CollectionsCreditRisk.com reports.

The survey showed that the percentage of Baby Boomers owning a premium card fell 11 percent from a similar survey in 2007.

All three age groups showed a percentage drop of users carrying credit card balances, with the overall rate at 58 percent compared with 65 percent in 2007, according to CollectionsCreditRisk.com.

Average card outstandings declined as well, to $1,890 from $2,517 in 2009 and from $2,260 in 2007.

Changes in issuer policy reflected heavily on the youngest generation, which absorbed the biggest increase in cards carrying annual fees, according to CollectionsCreditRisk.com. This group is likely to be the first to embrace new payment technology, such as mobile banking, and pay for purchases with their mobile phones.

The report also said that the GenX segment continues to struggle the most with unemployment, making financial decisions more challenging, CollectionsCreditRisk.com reports.

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