Consumer Payment Card News

Payment Rates

The average amount that consumers pay each month on their credit cards has been steadily rising, hitting a record high in September. The increasing payment rates have slowed the growth of total revolving credit card debt to about 4% per year, a record low. At mid-year, bank credit card debt, exclusive of store/gas credit, stood at $672 billion compared to $646 billion one-year ago. Based on reports thus far, bank credit card debt may have reached $680 billion in the quarter ending September 30th. At year-end 2001, Americans owed $608 billion on bank credit cards. Therefore, bank credit card debt has grown by 12% over the past three years, the slowest rate of growth in the industry’s history. The average amount that consumers pay each month on their current balance reached 18.04% in September, compared to 17.73% one-year ago, 16.16% in September 2002, and 14.89% in September 2001. The 2001 figure was an aberration due to the 9/11 attack, but all of 2001 was well below the current payment rates. The monthly payment rate reflects the average amount paid back by all cardholders including those who pay-off their entire balance each month. There are approximately 185 million bank credit cardholders in the USA. Of these about 70 million pay-off in full each month, 71 million make more than the minimum required payment, and 44 million make minimum required payments.

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