The average household with credit card balances now owes $7,879, a surging trend indicating that consumers are reverting to pre-recession debt levels of more than five years ago.

Surging U.S. Credit Card Debt Nears ‘Tipping Point’, Report Says

Surging U.S. Credit Card Debt Nears ‘Tipping Point’, Report Says

The average household with credit card balances now owes $7,879, a surging trend indicating that consumers are reverting to pre-recession debt levels of more than five years ago, according to new research from CardHub.com.

Average debts in 2015 hit levels not seen since the Great Recession, CardHub found. That $7,879 level is about $500 below the “tipping point” that CardHub says is unsustainable.

The $52.4 billion in new credit card debt that U.S. consumers added to their debt tab in the fourth quarter of 2015 is the largest fourth-quarter buildup since the Great Recession – 42 percent higher than the post-recession average for the fourth quarter of the year (2009-2014), CardHub says.

“With 8 of the past 10 quarters reflecting year-over-year regression in consumer performance, evidence is mounting to support the notion that credit card users are reverting to pre-downturn bad habits,” Odysseas Papadimitriou, CEO of CardHub, wrote in the report.

America’s outstanding credit card debt surpassed projections for 2015, climbing to $917.7 billion, up from a forecast of $900 billion, CardHub said.

If there is a bright side, it’s this: Consumers are generally current on their debts, with delinquencies still relatively low.

“While credit card debt levels are trending significantly upward, charge-off rates remain near historical lows and are, in fact, down on a year-over-year basis,” Papadimitriou wrote. “Something clearly has to give, and it does not seem to be our spending habits.”

 

 

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