Economy

U.S. Credit Card Debt on Track to Rise by $55 Billion in 2014

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Source: Thinkstock
Americans added more than $28 billion in new credit card debt during the second quarter of 2014, wiping out more than 85% of the first-quarter pay down of $32 billion. That is the first time in six years that a subsequent quarter has eliminated — or nearly so — Americans’ progress in paying down credit card debt. By the end of 2014, total U.S. credit card debt is expected to rise by $54.8 billion.

The data are contained in the latest study from CardHub.com, which also notes that the second-quarter increase was 46% higher than the next highest second-quarter debt buildup (2011) and nearly 200% higher than the increase in the second quarter of 2009.

Here are a few more data points from the CardHub report:

  • Consumers will charge-off on $30.35 billion in credit card debt during 2014. If that projection holds true, consumers will have defaulted on nearly $300 billion ($298.5 billion) in credit card debt since 2009.
  • Average household credit card debt will easily surpass the $7,000 mark during 2014, reaching levels not witnessed since the end of 2010.
  • If average debt does rise above $7,000 by the end of 2014, U.S. consumers will be roughly $1,300 away from the credit card debt tipping point, where minimum payments become unsustainable and delinquencies skyrocket.
  • The quarterly credit card default rate increased slightly to 3.45% compared with the first quarter, indicating a small rebound from historical lows seen during the previous three quarters. A continuance of this rebound in subsequent quarters could signal that credit card debt levels are increasingly unsustainable.

At the end of the second quarter of this year, the Federal Reserve Bank reported that revolving debt outstanding in the U.S. totaled $875.2 billion, up from $853.2 billion at the end of the second quarter of 2013. At the end of the second quarter revolving debt was up about $14 billion sequentially. Also according to the Fed, total U.S. consumer debt at the end of the second quarter was $3.169 trillion, up $65 billion sequentially and up more than $202 billion year over year.

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