Consumer Payment Card News

Down Debt

Nine months of contractions should give birth to an economic recovery. But, apparently not as consumer spending and debt languishes. Consumer revolving credit, mostly credit card debt, continued its downward trend in May, posting its ninth consecutive monthly decline, but at a slower rate than the prior three months. Since peaking at $977 billion in the third quarter, Americans have chopped-off about $49 billion in revolving credit. According to new and revised data released by the Federal Reserve, revolving credit now stands at $928.0 billion and declining at an 3.7% annual rate. In April, revolving credit declined to a revised $930.9 billion, reflecting an annual contraction ratio of 11.1%. February posted the largest contraction over the past eight months, dropping nearly $13 billion and declining at an annual rate of nearly 14%. Bank credit card debt (excluding store and gas credit cards) at the end of the first quarter was about $800 billion, or roughly 85% of total revolving credit, according to CardData ( Store and gas credit cards had about $105 billion in outstandings at year-end 2008. At the end of May, Americans were $2520 billion in debt, excluding home mortgages.

            REVOLVING CREDIT HISTORICAL ($billions)
        May 09   Apr  09   Mar 09   Feb 09    Jan 09   Dec 08
GRWTH:  -3.7%    -11.1     -10.2     -13.9     -0.7     -6.5
$OWED:  928.0    930.9     939.6     948.4     961.0    960.9
     Source: Federal Reserve; revised figures as of 7/8/09;
 For complete historical data, visit CardData (

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