2012 Holiday Season Shopping Spending Plans Revealed by TransUnion Study
CHICAGO, IL, Nov 19, 2012 (MARKETWIRE via COMTEX) --
With Halloween long gone and Black Friday and Cyber Monday just days
away, holiday shoppers are making their list and checking it twice --
and getting ready to head to shopping malls and the Internet to find
the best deals for 2012. TransUnion provides shoppers with tips to
help them have a happy holiday shopping season while minimizing their
exposure to identity theft and avoiding the holiday shopping hangover
According to a recent Zogby Analytics survey commissioned by
TransUnion, nearly a quarter (22.8 percent) of Americans surveyed
plan to spend between $251-$500 on holiday gifts this holiday season.
Nearly an additional fifth (18.7 percent) of Americans surveyed plan
to spend $501-$1,000 this holiday season.
For many, the arrival of the holiday season seems to send a reflexive
signal to start spending. TransUnion provides consumers with some
strategies to control spending so that their debt doesn't spiral
upwards and their credit score nosedives.
Be strategic about credit:
-- Before you start shopping, know the interest rates on your credit
cards, as well as what you already owe on your credit cards.
-- Monitor your credit regularly. Make sure your credit accurately
reflects your credit history. Watch for and correct anything you know
is incorrect or unfamiliar as these items could potentially lower your
-- If you're going to open new retail accounts to get a discount on
shopping, be aware that this may cause your credit score to suffer a
If you're already carrying a balance on your credit cards:
-- Pay off the ones with the highest interest rates first. Don't pay more
in interest than you have to.
-- If you can, pay more than the minimum each month, otherwise, interest
will grow on the remainder of your credit card balance. Try to
negotiate your interest rate. In this economic climate, card issuers
are anxious to retain consumers who use credit responsibly.
"If you are concerned about your credit score, it might be a better
idea to pay for holiday shopping with cash," says Heather Battison,
TransUnion's senior director responsible for consumer education. "If
lenders see a high credit utilization ratio, they might conclude that
you're 'maxing out,' or doing more spending than you can pay for."
TransUnion also provides consumers with proactive steps they can take
now that will help minimize their exposure to identity theft -- both
while shopping online and in the malls.
"The holidays present a wealth of opportunity for identity thieves,"
says Battison. "The hectic holiday season can potentially expose our
personal information to theft in both high-tech ways like phishing
scams, and in traditional ones, such as a stolen wallet or mail
While these identity theft prevention tips from TransUnion are useful
year round, they're especially important during the holiday season:
-- When holiday shopping, only carry essential documents with you. Only
take your driver's license and the credit card or cards you intend to
use that day. Do not carry your Social Security card, birth
certificate or passport, and consider leaving at home other types of
cards that may have identifying information on them, like wholesale
club cards or library cards.
-- The holidays mean plenty of extra trash. Shred everything that
contains personal, identifying information before throwing it out.
-- Keep a close eye on your credit card bills. This is especially
important during the holidays. The additional attention to your bill
can help you catch any charges you don't recognize on your statement.
An added bonus -- you'll also be more aware of how much you're
spending and be better prepared to stay within your holiday spending
-- Monitor your credit. Consider enrolling in a credit monitoring service
that will alert you via email to changes in your credit report. This
way you will know quickly if someone else has tried to open a new
credit account in your name.
-- When shopping online, only do business with websites that have
security measures in place to protect you. Before you provide any
personal or payment information, look for a URL that begins with
"https" (not "http") and the emblem of a lock on the page, typically
next to the address bar.
-- Before and after you surf the web on Cyber Monday, consider changing
your account passwords and keep a list of them in a secure place.
Passwords and PIN numbers should be a random mix of letters, numbers
and special characters, which makes it harder for identity thieves to
To begin your holiday shopping season by checking your credit and debt
situation, visit TransUnion to obtain your free credit score.
TransUnion Interactive, Inc. is a consumer
subsidiary of TransUnion. As a global leader in credit and
information management, TransUnion creates advantages for millions of
people around the world by gathering, analyzing and delivering
information. For businesses, TransUnion helps improve efficiency,
manage risk, reduce costs and increase revenue by delivering
comprehensive data and advanced analytics and decisioning. For
consumers, TransUnion provides the tools, resources and education to
help manage their credit health and achieve their financial goals.
Through these and other efforts, TransUnion is working to build
stronger economies worldwide. Founded in 1968 and headquartered in
Chicago, TransUnion employs associates in more than 32 countries on
five continents. www.transunion.com Follow us on Facebook.
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