More than 40% of Canadians carrying credit card debt

by Morinville Online Staff

NerdWallet Canada, a financial guidance platform for consumers and small and mid-sized businesses, has released its first-ever Consumer Credit Card Report. The report, conducted by The Harris Poll in April 2023 and based on a survey of over 1,000 Canadian adults, sheds light on how Canadians use their credit cards and how the pandemic has impacted their credit card habits.

The report found that nearly half of Canadians (48%) have changed their credit card habits in the past year. Higher prices for goods and services amid record-breaking rates of inflation were the top reason for 68% of respondents. Other factors cited for changing credit card behaviour include major unexpected purchases (23%), changes in employment resulting in reduced income (20%), living situation changes (16%), and rent or mortgage payments requiring more monthly income (16%).

Additionally, the report revealed that only 58% of Canadians always pay their credit card balances in full each month. More than 2 in 5 Canadians (43%) currently have credit card debt, with 40% of them estimating that it will take them six months or longer to pay off all of that debt. Sadly, 11% of respondents said that they are not at all sure how long it will take them to pay off their credit card debt.

The report also found that one in three Canadians (33%) have redeemed credit card rewards to pay for essential purchases in the past 12 months. Additionally, the vast majority of Canadians who have a credit card (89%) check their balance at least once a month.

The report highlights some generational differences in credit card habits. For instance, Millennials (ages 27-42) were more likely to have changed their credit card habits over the last 12 months because of mortgage payments or rent requiring more of their income each month, compared to Baby Boomers (ages 59-77). On the other hand, Generation Z (ages 18-26) were less likely to use their credit cards for essential purchases in the past year than other generations.

The full report, which contains further analysis and insights into Canadian credit card habits, can be found on NerdWallet Canada’s website at

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