Credit cards

Credit card debt in the U.S. reaches new high of $1 trillion


Americans are using their credit cards more than ever, pushing the total balance to over $1 trillion for the first time in history, according to a report from the New York Federal Reserve.

The report, released August 2023, showed that credit card balances rose by $45 billion to $1.03 trillion in the second quarter of 2023, reflecting robust consumer spending as well as higher prices due to inflation. The increase was the largest quarterly gain since 2008 and surpassed the previous record of $1.02 trillion set in 2019.

The rise in credit card debt also coincided with a higher payment failure rate, which measures the share of borrowers who are at least 30 days behind on their payments. The failure measure climbed to 7.2% in the second quarter, up from 6.5% in the first quarter and the highest level since 2012.

The New York Fed reportedly said that the increase in failure rates may reflect a normalization to pre-pandemic levels, as many lenders offered relief programs and forbearance options to borrowers during the Covid-19 crisis. However, some analysts warned that the high level of credit card debt could pose a risk to the financial stability of households and the economy if interest rates rise or incomes fall.

Expensive debt

Credit card debt is one of the most expensive forms of debt, and it can quickly spiral out of control if not managed. ‘Consumers should aim to pay off their balances in full every month, or at least pay more than the minimum due, to avoid paying unnecessary interest and fees.

The burden of debt is all to consuming!

Interest rates and fees on credit cards are one of the highest payable and if you fall into the debt spiral it can be almost impossible to liberate yourself from that consuming debt.

Younger users

The New York Fed also noted that credit card usage has become more widespread among Americans, especially among younger and lower-income borrowers. The share of adults with at least one credit card increased from 76% in 2019 to 79% in 2021, while the share of those with four or more cards rose from 18% to 21% over the same period.


The report suggested that credit cards have become an essential tool for many consumers to access credit and smooth purchases over time, especially during periods of economic uncertainty and volatility. However, it also cautioned that credit cards can also lead to overborrowing and financial distress if not used responsibly.

It is one of the most expensive ways to borrow money and far too easy to access.

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