Total Credit Card Debt Passed $70 Billion In 2015

Experts voice concerns that consumers are returning to bad credit card habits

Total Credit Card Debt Passed $70 Billion In 2015
March 9, 2016

According to credit card research firm CardHub, 2016 could see credit card debt return to levels it hasn’t been at since 2008. This growing reliance on credit cards may show that consumers are beginning to return to the bad spending habits they exhibited prior to the financial recession.

It was estimated that consumer credit card debt would reach $900 billion dollars in 2015, but the final total surpassed that mark. The year ended with the national credit card debt reaching $917.7 billion thanks to the additional $71 billion that consumers amassed in 2015. That was a 24 percent increase from 2014. Much of this debt came in the last quarter of the year as the holiday season approached; some $52.4 billion was charged to credit cards during these three months. In 2014, the year’s total credit card debt was only $57.4 billion.

Out of the past two and a half years, eight quarters have shown consumers backsliding into spending habits they exhibited in the years prior to the 2008 financial crisis. While 2015 may have started with many consumers using their annual bonuses or tax refunds to pay off almost $35 billion dollars in debt, the second quarter saw almost that much – $32 billion – charged back. The average debt per consumer last year reached over $7,800, an almost unsustainable level.

However, there is good news: the average consumer is currently on top of their credit card debt. This should help to avert a second financial crisis for now.

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Carla | 03.09.16 @ 17:09
This does not surprise me as I see so many friends living beyond their means.
Elaine | 03.09.16 @ 17:09
Wow that is a scary number there. Glad that this article says that the consumer is I top of it but I would actually doubt that is the case. I hope they are right though.
Erin | 03.09.16 @ 17:10
It's good to know that consumers seem to be controlling their spending a bit more. It is so easy to charge something to the card and forget about how much may already be on there. Then when the bill comes, it's a shock.
irene | 03.09.16 @ 17:11
Yikes that is pretty scary. We did run our cards up during the recession because we had no choice, but we have finally paid them down to manageable levels
Sarah | 03.09.16 @ 17:13
That is an amazing amount of debt... I can't wrap my mind around that.
Alec | 03.09.16 @ 17:14
We've hit a couple of snags where we had to run up our credit card debt but we always pay down as much as we can. We've paid it totally off twice. Emergencies happen though and that's what credit cards are really for in my opinion!
Heather | 03.09.16 @ 17:19
That is a lot of money. I only have a credit card for emergencies. If I can't pay cash I don't buy something. Credit cards are too much of a convenience and can get you in trouble.
Jonathan | 03.09.16 @ 17:19
It's quite scary, it's almost like what happened before the last recession...
Brittany | 03.09.16 @ 17:20
That doesn't surprise me in the slightest, but it is still a scary amount of money.
Sara | 03.09.16 @ 17:21
Does not really surprise me at all. I know a lot who try to live well beyond their means. We ran ours up when we hit bumps in the road.
$commenter.renderDisplayableName() | 05.17.21 @ 12:23