US Credit Card Debt Soars to a New Record High of $1.13 Trillion

By Trisha Andrada

Feb 07, 2024 08:26 AM EST

Credit card balances in the US reached a new record high of $1.13 trillion, according to data released by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York on Tuesday.

According to The Hill, credit card debt has increased by $50 billion in the fourth quarter of 2023 alone, marking a 4.6% rise from the previous quarter. The latest figure is the largest credit card balance recorded since 2003.

The overall amount of household debt also climbed by $212 billion in the fourth quarter, as per the New York Fed's latest "Quarterly Report on Household Debt and Credit," reaching $17.5 trillion.

credit card
(Photo : Pixabay / Pexels)

Rise in Delinquencies

According to the report, auto loan balances also soared in the fourth quarter by $12 billion to $1.61 trillion, in line with a rising trend in loan balances since the second quarter of 2020.

Aggregate delinquency rates also jumped in the fourth quarter, noting that 3.1 percent of outstanding debt was "in some stage of delinquency" in late December.

Citing the report, ABC News reported that delinquencies, which reflect missed payments on credit card bills, surged across all age groups, with borrowers from ages 30 to 39 missing their payments.

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Credit Card Balances Transitioned Into Delinquency by the End of Fourth Quarter

In a statement, Wilbert van der Klaauw, economic research adviser at the New York Fed, said: "Credit card and auto loan transitions into delinquency are still rising above pre-pandemic levels," signaling "increased financial stress, especially among younger and lower-income households."

According to the report, by the end of the fourth quarter, around 8.5% of annualized credit card balances and 7.7% of annualized auto loan amounts had turned into delinquency.

The report further noted that mortgage loan balances soared by $112 billion from the third quarter, and by the end of December, they had totaled $12.25 trillion. Another interesting finding from the study is the $11 billion increase in home equity lines of credit during the fourth quarter.

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