Consumer Payment Card News

Jan Debt

Consumer revolving credit, mostly credit card debt, reversed its course and picked up in January, after three consecutive monthly declines. Americans added $900 million to total consumer revolving credit in January after peaking at $976.8 billion in October. Lower credit limits, reduced personal income and higher credit card interest rates offset by holiday carry-over appear to be contributing factors to the sluggish growth. Revolving credit now stands at $961.3 billion in January and growing at an 1.2% annual rate. In December, revolving credit dipped by $7.7 billion reflecting an annual contraction ratio of 9.5%, 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 $817 billion or roughly 85% of total revolving credit, according to CardData (www.carddata.com). Store and gas credit cards had about $100 billion in outstandings at year-end 2008. At the end of January, Americans were $2564 billion in debt, excluding home mortgages.

         REVOLVING CREDIT HISTORICAL ($billions)
        Jan 09   Dec 08   Nov 08   Oct 08   Sep 08   Aug 08
GRWTH:   1.2%     -9.5    -7.1      -0.1     4.5      2.5
$OWED:  $961.3    960.4   968.1     976.8    976.7    973.8
     Source: Federal Reserve; revised figures as of 3/6/09;
 For complete historical data, visit CardData (www.carddata.com)

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