Many Americans live in a perpetual state of financial ignorance or denial, according to the Bankrate Financial Literacy Survey. In fact, they say that some 75 percent of respondents claim they don't make any major purchases on credit cards unless they can pay them off immediately while 74 percent say they are concerned about being able to pay their credit card bills every month. Huh?

If people's claims about themselves are deceptive, then their outlook on their fellow consumers is beyond cynical. Moreover, 58 percent of respondents maintain that they pay off their credit cards in full every month--a marked contrast to studies that show the number at 40 percent. But remarkably, only 3 percent of respondents believe that people pay off their cards in full.

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