September 4, 2013

Uh Oh! Credit Cards Increase for First Time in 5 Years

According to the National Consumer Credit Trends Report by Equifax, the total balance of credit cards showed a year-over-year increase in July for the first time in five years.  Total balance of credit cards increased from $536.3 billion to $536.5 billion.

Moreover, the total amount of new credit opened between January and May of this year is the highest since 2008.

In other areas of consumer credit, student loans and auto loans saw the most growth. Student loan balances increased 11.3% in the past year (from $794.6 billion to $884.2 billion). Auto loan balances also increased 10.9% in the past year (from $745.3 billion to $826.8 billion).

For a complete look at the National Consumer Credit Trends Report: https://investor.equifax.com/releasedetail.cfm?ReleaseID=787853

We find the increase in credit card balances to be concerning.  Our experience is that people are NOT using their cards for luxury items, they are using them for gas and groceries.  For us, balances on the rise mean more people are struggling to make ends meet.