Consumer Payment Card News

Dec Debt

Consumer revolving credit, mostly credit card debt, declined for the third consecutive month in December, after hitting the brakes in October in the wake of the worst credit crunch in history. Americans cut a record $6.4 billion off total consumer revolving credit after adding $37 billion between January and September of last year. Lower credit limits, reduced personal income and higher credit card interest rates appear to be contributing factors. Revolving credit now stands at $963.5 billion in December and is declining at a 7.8% annual rate. In November, revolving credit dipped by $6.9 billion reflecting an annual contraction ratio of 8.5%, according to data released by the Federal Reserve. Bank credit card debt (excluding store and gas credit cards) at the end of the fourth quarter was about $820 billion or roughly 85% of total revolving credit, according to CardData (“www.carddata.com”:http://www.carddata.com). Store and gas credit cards had about $102 billion in outstandings at year-end 2008. At the end of December, Americans were $2562 billion in debt, excluding home mortgages.

         REVOLVING CREDIT HISTORICAL ($billions)
        Dec 08   Nov 08   Oct 08   Sep 08   Aug 08   Jul 08
GRWTH:    -7.8%    -8.5     -0.1%     4.5      2.5      5.6
$OWED:    $963.5   969.9    976.8    976.7    973.8    970.1
     Source: Federal Reserve; revised figures as of 2/6/09;
 For complete historical data, visit CardData (www.carddata.com)

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