The recession has had a significant impact on consumer behavior and attitudes surrounding holiday credit card debt, with 55% inspired to make a more proactive effort to avoid incurring any or more credit card debt. This has influenced changes in consumer behavior toward holiday credit card debt with 21% expecting to have credit card debt after January 2010 from the 2009 holiday season, a 5% decrease from the year ago period. This, according to LowerMyBills.com survey, a part of Experian, conducted between Nov. 11 and Dec. 8, also shows 24% of the consumers planning to carry holiday credit card debt after January 2010 are planning to pay it off in one to two months, compared to only 18% Y/Y. Additionally, 69% of those becoming more proactive to reducing credit card debt cited higher credit card interest rates as a reason for their proactivity while 38% included the proliferation of information about the impact of carrying credit card debt and 37% cited the potential damage to their credit score.
Consumer service BillShrink has added credit cards to its list of
product offerings that can be compared by consumers to find the best
value. Consumers will be able to access a quantified,
dollar-for-dollar comparison of credit cards tailored to their personal
usage and spending behavior from more than 200 of the most
popular credit cards from major banks. By simply entering a few details
about their credit card usage and
preferences — including typical spending per month, whether or not one
carries a balance, and on what most money is spent — consumers can
quickly access a personalized ranking of recommended credit cards.
BillShrink’s patent-pending technology automatically monitors
millions of rate plan/feature combinations, and matches them against
individual consumers’ usage patterns, providing simple, apples to apples
comparisons and updated money saving recommendations on an ongoing basis as
Experian Interactive has formed Experian Interactive Media to help consumers make critical decisions that impact their financial situations with free online services. Experian Interactive Media consists of the following brands: LowerMyBills.com, which connects interested consumers with service providers that can offer competitive rates and terms; ClassesUSA.com, one of the Web’s leading higher-education portals, connects prospective students with schools offering online and traditional degree and certificate programs; ExpertsOnCredit.com provides informational content regarding credit-related topics; InstantApprovals.com, which matches consumers with the credit cards that fit their lives and Affiliate Fuel which provides Experian brands, and other external advertisers, with pay-for-performance marketing services.
RSA Security this week acquired privately-held PassMark Security for $44.7 million. PassMark’s solutions include a two-factor authentication solution that authenticates each user to a Web site based on a password and specific positive device forensics and at the same time authenticates the site to the user with visual images. PassMark also offers a voice-based biometric authentication system. The deal includes $9.0 million in cash and the issuance of approximately 2.0 million shares of RSA Security stock. RSA also appointed PassMark co-founder Bill Harris to its board.
Experian has acquired Los Angeles-based PriceGrabber.com for $485 million plus expenses. PriceGrabber.com will become part of Experian Interactive, which currently includes LowerMyBills.com, MetaReward, Affiliate Fuel, ClassesUSA.com and Experian Consumer Direct. The PriceGrabber.com database contains millions of products in more than 20 categories, such as consumer electronics, clothing, photography, computers, office products, software, toys, home and garden and video games. The company also powers comparison shopping on more than 300 Web sites. This year, PriceGrabber.com estimates sales to be $60 million. PriceGrabber.com was founded in 1999 and employs 140 people.
Experian is acquiring LowerMyBills.com for $330 million, plus up to a $50 million on performance-related earn-out over the next two years. LowerMyBills.com offers savings through relationships with more than 400 service providers across 17 service categories including home loans, credit cards, long-distance and wireless services, and auto and health insurance. Experian provides global information solutions to more than 50,000 clients. Annual sales exceed $2.5 billion.
LowerMyBills.com has selected Yodlee’s “BillDirect” to power “BillPay Plus,” a free EBPP service for consumers.
This year more people will file for bankruptcy than will graduate from college. And as a result of the economic downturn, stock market devaluation and thousands of corporate layoffs, a growing number of families have reached the brink of economic crisis.
This spring, LowerMyBills.com examined data from the U.S. Federal Reserve’s Bureau of Economic Analysis and Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Consumer Expenditure Survey, in addition to various other economic indicators, to reach these staggering conclusions. As Congress enacts tougher bankruptcy legislation, American families are fighting off creditors and searching for answers.
“Most American families are living paycheck-to-paycheck,” said LowerMyBills.com founder and CEO Matt Coffin. “It takes only one negative economic event to push a family into bankruptcy and home foreclosure, which in this weakening market is becoming more likely.”
The LowerMyBills.com study found that Americans are dipping into their past savings, selling investments and running up a staggering amount of debt to cover their growing expenses. The Bureau of Labor Statistics Survey indicates that the three lowest income quintiles of American families, representing about 60 percent of Americans, spent more than their after-tax income in 1999.
The two lowest quintiles, representing about 40 percent of Americans, earned on average $12,338 after taxes and spent on average $20,808 in 1999. That’s roughly 32 million households running an annual deficit of $8,160. This debt is primarily attributed to large amounts of short-term liquidated credit. Furthermore, the Federal Reserve reports that consumer debt has now reached $1 trillion, or nearly $9,000 per U.S. family.
“American families are searching for solutions and tools to lower their monthly expenses,” asserts Mr. Coffin. “They need to recession proof their savings. In this time of economic insecurity, it doesn’t help that the government is rewriting bankruptcy laws to make it harder on the average person to set aside debt that is dragging them down. My mission at LowerMyBills.com is to provide the tools and guidance for the American family to protect their finances and secure their children’s future. LowerMyBills serves as preventative medicine for this looming crisis,” adds Mr. Coffin.
“Many families are unaware of how much money they actually owe, and how to handle their debt,” says Consumer Advocate David Horowitz. “Current bankruptcy laws are unforgiving, often forcing debtors into unrealistic payback plans that create an undue hardship on the family.”
Headquartered in Los Angeles, CA, LowerMyBills.com (http://www.lowermybills.com) is the premier online destination for lowering all recurring monthly bills. Current category offerings include long distance and wireless phone services, taxes, credit cards, loans, insurance, Internet service, debt reduction, credit ratings and energy. Since its inception, LowerMyBills.com has saved U.S. families more than 50 million dollars.
An obscure Los Angeles-based Web site says it will release a study this week that shows 30% of American families are at risk for bankruptcy this year. The LowerMyBills.com study found that, based on Bureau of Labor statistics, the three lowest income quintiles of American families, representing about 60% of Americans, spent more than their after-tax income in 1999. The two lowest quintiles, representing about 40% of Americans, earned on average $12,338 after taxes and spent on average $20,808 in 1999. The Web site says that is roughly 32 million households running an annual deficit of $8,160. LowerMyBills.com says all it takes is one negative economic event to push a family into bankruptcy and home foreclosure, which in this weakening market is becoming more likely.