Credit card debt climbing to pre-recession levels: CardHub

December 10, 2015

WASHINGTON (12/10/15)--U.S. consumers set two straight post-recession records for quarterly credit card debt growth, according to consumer finance website CardHub.

After cramming $32 billion onto their credit cards in the second quarter, shoppers stockpiled $21.3 billion of credit card debt in the third, a 34% jump year-over-year and the most for the third quarter since 2009.

The combined quarters puts consumers on track to rack up a roughly $68.5 billion net increase in credit card debt in 2015. That would put average household credit card debt at $8,000, a number not seen since 2008.

In October, credit card loans at credit unions rose 0.1%, according to the latest CUNA credit union monthly estimates.

“While the fact that we incurred less new credit card debt in the third quarter of 2015 than in the second might lead some to believe that credit responsibility is improving, this mirrors a historical trend where a first-quarter paydown is followed by a spike in debt levels during the second quarter, a more-modest increase during the third quarter, and a relatively massive buildup to end the year,” CardHub said.

Additional numbers from CardHub:

  • The $21.3 billion build up in credit card debt in the third quarter sits 71% higher than the post-recession average;
  • Despite rising credit card debt levels, charge-off rates remain at historical lows, and have fallen on a year-over-year basis; and
  • Eight out of the last 10 quarters have reflected year-over-year regression in consumer performance.