CardHub Study: Americans Racked Up $32B In Credit Card Debt In Q2

Although American consumers paid down nearly $35 billion in credit card debt during the first quarter, they all but erased those gains during the second, racking up a whopping $32.1 billion in new balances, according to a recent study from the consumer finance website CardHub. That figure represents the largest second-quarter binge since CardHub began conducting its Credit Card Debt study in 2009, and puts consumers on track to wind down the year with a net increase of more than $60 billion in credit card debt, CardHub said. That $32.1 billion in new balances represents an increase of 14 percent over the year-ago quarter and 86 percent over the same period two years ago. Americans ended 2014 with $57.4 billion in credit card balances, reflecting a 43 percent year-over-year increase in indebtedness. Furthermore, CardHub said that the past seven of 10 quarters reflected year-over-year regression in consumer performance, suggesting that credit card users are reverting to pre-downturn bad habits. The site said that its study results indicate that outstanding credit card debt should cross $900 billion by the year’s end, bringing the average household’s credit card balance to $7,813, the highest since the onset of the Great Recession and just $615 away from the tipping point that CardHub has identified as unsustainable. However, charge-offs for the second quarter totaled $6.5 billion – still near historic lows and down from $7.1 billion in the year-ago period, CardHub said. That particular finding prompted the study’s authors to note, “Something clearly has to give, and it does not seem to be our spending...