Consumer Credit Debt on the Rise as Credit Card Interest Rates Set New Records

The US Federal Reserve on Monday (1-9-23) released its latest G.19 Consumer Credit Report (CCR). According to the CCR, with further analysis provided by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), consumer credit outstanding grew to a seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) of 7.1% in November, after climbing 7.4% (SAAR) in October. Revolving debt—which consists primarily of credit card debt—increased at a 16.9% rate, more than four times the growth of nonrevolving debt (excluding real estate), which grew 3.9% (SAAR) during the same time period.

Total consumer credit stands at $4.76 trillion, an increase of $28 billion month-over-month and $349 billion year-over-year. Nonevolving credit outstanding increased to $11.5 billion while the levels of revolving debt rose $16.5 billion over the month.

Revolving and nonrevolving debt accounted for 25.0% and 75.0% of total consumer debt, respectively. Between November 2021 and November 2022, revolving consumer credit outstanding as a share of the total increased 1.6 percentage points, after reaching its most recent low of 22.9% in May 2021.

In the CCR report, the Fed noted that credit card interest rates climbed 1.97%—or 197-basis points—to 20.4% between August and November 2022, following a 178-basis point increase between May and August. Prior to August 2022, the largest three-month increases in the series (which dates back to 1994) was a 98-basis point increase in May 1995.

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