It’s not uncommon to fudge some of life’s most sensitive numbers, such as age or weight.
But according to a NerdWallet study, consumers aren’t just fibbing a little when it comes to their credit card balances. In fact, government data show them reporting a total of $415 billion less than they actually owe.
As of December 2013, lenders reported about $683 billion in outstanding credit card debt, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Borrowers, on the other hand, reported only about $268 billion when asked for the Federal Reserve’s 2013Survey of Consumer Finances. This disparity was greater for credit card debt than any other type of debt, including student loans and mortgage debt.
When NerdWallet dug into the reasons behind this reporting difference, it found that the stigma surrounding credit card debt may be a leading cause of underreporting.