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Americans’ credit card debt hits record $1.13 trillion

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(NEW YORK) — Americans’ credit card balances climbed to a new record high $1.13 trillion, according to data released Tuesday by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.


Credit card debt increased by $50 billion in the fourth quarter of 2023 alone, a 4.6% jump from the previous quarter.

The data on credit card debt comes as total household debt rose by $212 billion to reach $17.5 trillion in the fourth quarter of 2023, according to the New York Fed’s latest “Quarterly Report on Household Debt and Credit.”

In a potentially concerning sign for consumers and the broader economy, the number of Americans who are late making their credit card payments is also ticking up.

Delinquencies – reflecting missed payments on credit card bills – increased across all age groups. Borrowers between the ages of 30-39 are missing their payments at especially fast rates.

“In the case of credit cards, it looks like things have reverted to a level that is worse than pre-pandemic,” New York Fed researchers told reporters on a call Tuesday.

The researchers said higher credit card debt is “not a flashing red signal” but is indicative of strain on many households’ budgets. Credit card balances first surpassed $1 trillion last August.

Americans are also taking more debt when they’re buying cars. Auto loan balances rose by $12 billion in the fourth quarter to $1.61 trillion, while delinquencies also rose.

New York Fed researchers attributed some of the rising auto debt to higher prices for new and used cars in the wake of the pandemic.

ABC News’ Taylor M. Dunn contributed to this report.

 

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