Recent Increases in Credit Card Debt
A recent article posted on “Quartz” (qz.com) written by Matt Phillips announces that Americans are busting out the credit cards more frequently once again after a significant dip in credit card usage between 2009 and 2011. The year 2014 has seen a surge in revolving consumer debt, particularly in April of this year.
Part of the reason credit cards were used less frequently beginning in 2009 was due to policies that were put in place to hinder predatory lending, particularly the “US Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure Act (the CARD Act) which kept credit card companies from offering credit without seriously examining a customer’s ability to pay. This act also set in place strict rule for those who heavily marketed credit cards on college campuses to the 21 and younger crowd and limited credit card company’s abilities to attach heavy penalty fees with their cards. The “CARD” Act also monitored the circumstances in which a credit card company could raise their interest rates to help keep outrageous increases under control.
The economy struggled a bit several years back which likely had an impact on credit card spending among the average American so one could assume that this rise in spending via personal credit cards is indicative of an economy on the mend. According to the article, “Roughly 70% of US economic activity is driven by consumption…a rise in credit card use suggests that consumers are ramping up their buying. “
Even with the rise of consumer spending signaling a possible sign of an economy on the rise, it’s never necessarily a good sign to see a heavy reliance on credit card spending.