There is the proverbial good news and bad news in the latest statistics on the nation’s credit card debt, according to CardHub, a consumer credit card research organization.
Credit card debt is an indicator of the health of the economy and of consumer financial health, CardHub says. The good news is that the charge off rate, or the amount that credit card companies determine they cannot collect, is the lowest it has been since 1985 as of the most recent reading of 2.89 percent. That indicates that consumers have the financial wherewithal to remain current on their obligations, CardHub says.
The flip side of that is that consumers put $15.94 billion in charges on credit cards during the third quarter of this year, one of the highest debt rates of any quarter in the last five years. The number puts consumers on track to have charged $60 billion in new credit card debt by the end of 2014, which would be an increase of at least 55 percent over 2013.
The average household’s credit card balance increased by $68 during this year's third quarter, and is now $6,870. CardHub expects this to reach $7,126 by the end of the year, which brings households $1,200 away from a tipping point at which minimum payments will become unsustainable and delinquencies will skyrocket.
“As a result, consumers must strive to remember the corrosive impact of debt on household finances and work to get out from under its influence before the burden becomes unbearable again,” CardHub says. The full report is available here.