- Credit card balances spiked in the third quarter to a $1.08 trillion record. Here’s how we got here
- Americans now owe $1.08 trillion on their credit cards, according to a new report on household debt from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
- Credit card balances spiked by $154 billion year over year, notching the largest increase since 1999, the New York Fed found.
- “Credit card balances experienced a large jump in the third quarter, consistent with strong consumer spending and real GDP growth,” said Donghoon Lee, the New York Fed’s economic research advisor.
- Credit card delinquency rates also rose across the board, according to the New York Fed, but especially among millennials, or borrowers between the ages of 30 and 39, who are burdened by high levels of student loan debt.
- With most people feeling strained by higher prices — particularly for food, gas and housing — more cardholders are carrying debt from month to month or falling behind on payments, and a greater percentage of balances are going more than 180 days delinquent, according to a separate report from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
- Nearly one-tenth of credit card users find themselves in “persistent debt” where they are charged more in interest and fees each year than they pay toward the principal — a pattern that is increasingly difficult to break, the consumer watchdog said.
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