Average credit card balances rise to more than $6,000

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As Americans deal with stubborn inflation, they’re increasingly turning to credit cards to make ends meet. In fact, credit card originations rose 0.16% month-to-month in August, according to the latest data from VantageScore. And the average credit card balance jumped 11.1% year-over-year to reach $6,082. 

“In August, lenders tightened access to credit across most products and consumers continued to remain cautious about adding to their debt levels,” Susan Fahy, the executive vice president and chief digital officer at VantageScore, said in a statement. “The data shows that over the summer many U.S. consumers began to feel the strain of rising interest rates and dwindling savings, along with an increase in missed payments.”

Additionally, credit card delinquencies remained elevated across all categories. For instance, credit card delinquencies lasting 90 to 119 days increased to 0.24%, nearly doubling from last year. 

If you’re struggling with high-interest credit card debt, you could consider paying it down with a personal loan at a lower interest rate. Visit Credible to compare options from different lenders without affecting your credit score. 

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Credit card debt reaches record high

Credit card debt reached $1.03 trillion in the second quarter of 2023, according to the latest report by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. That represented a $45 billion increase from the quarter prior.

“Compared to other debt categories this quarter, credit card balances saw the most pronounced worsening in performance, following a period of extraordinarily low delinquency rates during the pandemic,” The NY Fed said in its report. Additionally, many Americans are relying on their credit cards more than ever before. In fact, 35% of Americans said they won’t be able to pay off their credit card debt before the end of 2023, according to a survey by Quicken. And 35% of respondents said they’d likely max out at least one credit card before the end of the year.

“This increased reliance on credit cards is likely to lead many even deeper into debt – which is especially troublesome with interest rates well into the double digits,” Quicken said in its report.   

And many Americans are struggling to pay off debt as COVID-era savings are expected to be depleted by the end of the third quarter, according to research by the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco. 

If you’re struggling with high-interest credit card debt, you could consider paying it down with a personal loan at a lower interest rate. Visit Credible to get your personalized rate in minutes. 

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Will the Fed raise interest rates again?

In September, the Federal Reserve paused interest rate hikes after having raised rates 11 times since last year in its attempt to reduce inflation. However, inflation increased 3.2% in July. And experts have said they expect another hike to come within this year. 

“The longer inflation remains elevated, the more entrenched it becomes,” Morning Consult Chief Economist John Leer said in a statement. “The question we should all be asking is how long the Fed is willing to accept core inflation above 4%. My sense is that their tolerance is pretty low, meaning that we shouldn’t expect rate cuts this year.”

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell also hinted that future rate hikes are not off the table just yet. 

“Inflation remains well above our longer run goal of 2%,” Powell said at a press conference. “We’re prepared to raise rates further if appropriate, and we intend to hold policy at a restrictive level until we’re confident that inflation is moving down sustainably toward our objectives.”

Any raise to the federal funds rate could have an impact on what consumers pay on interest for credit cards. If you’re struggling to make your credit card payments, you could consider paying off your debt with a personal loan at a lower interest rate. Visit Credible to speak with an expert and get your questions answered. 

Have a finance-related question, but don’t know who to ask? Email The Credible Money Expert at [email protected] and your question might be answered by Credible in our Money Expert column.

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