Consumers paid off almost $35 billion of credit card debt in the first quarter of 2015, then racked up another $53.3 billion over the next two quarters, according to CardHub.
If they keep it up, CardHub estimates consumers will end 2015 with a net increase of $68.5 billion in credit card debt, “putting us perilously close to a tipping point at which balances become unsustainable and delinquency rates skyrocket,” according to the report.
Total credit card debt is expected to pass $900 billion by the end of the year. That will mean the average household’s debt balance will be over $8,000 and just $400 below the level CardHub says is unsustainable.
CardHub has been conducting its credit card survey since 200,9 when consumers removed $875 million from their debt balance. By 2010, the net result in debt load increased 377%, followed by a 1,820% increase in 2011. After a 22% drop in 2012, the debt load has been climbing ever since.
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The almost $11 billion decline in new credit card debt between the second and third quarters is not a sign of consumers’ improving credit responsibility. Instead, it’s part of a “historical trend where a first-quarter paydown is followed by a spike in debt levels during the second quarter, a more-modest increase during the third quarter, and a relatively massive buildup to end the year.”