Credit card debt statistics can reveal a lot about the financial health of the average American household. And, according to CardHub’s Q1 2016 Credit Card Debt Study, Americans’ recent behavior reflects pre-recession behavior.
The study, which looks at data from the Federal Reserve, finds that Americans repaid just $26.8 billion in credit card debt during the first quarter of 2016 – the smallest first-quarter pay down since 2008 and 25% below the post-recession average.
“With the global economy in flux and debate raging over the timing of Federal Reserve rate hikes, data that speaks to the financial health of the average American household can be quite telling,” the study states. “Credit card debt statistics, in particular, reflect consumer sentiment and can foretell overleveraging bubbles that may trigger constriction across lending markets.”
This first-quarter pay down covers just 38% of the “astounding” $71 billion Americans added to their tab in 2015.
As a result, CardHub is projecting that Americans will end 2016 with roughly $1 trillion in outstanding balances for the first time ever, which would bring the amount owed by the average indebted household to more than $8,500.
Not even during the period preceding the Great Recession did outstanding balances reach this level, according to the study.