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Credit Card Charges in Last Quarter of 2015 Nearly as High as All of 2014: Study

March 10th, 2016 · No Comments · Credit Cards

by Kristy Welsh

(Last Updated On: January 19, 2018)

Credit Card Charges in Last Quarter of 2015 Nearly as High as All of 2014: StudyThings were troubling enough when we blogged about rising credit card debt 3 months ago. But that was before we had the results for the fourth quarter of 2015. A new CardHub study puts these startling new numbers in perspective: “We ended 2015 with a $71 billion net increase in credit card debt, largely because we incurred nearly as much new debt during the fourth quarter of the year as we did during all of 2014.” Not only does this threaten to leave credit cardholders with debt they cannot handle but, if they’re not careful, bad credit in need of repair.

2015 Credit Card Debt Study: Trends & Insights

You can read the results of the study in its entirety here, but here are some notable highlights:

  • The $52.4 billion in new credit card debt that we added to our tab in Q4 2015 is the largest fourth-quarter buildup since the Great Recession.
  • We added more than twice as much credit card debt to our tab in the fourth quarter of 2015 than the third quarter.
  • The average household with credit card debt now owes $7,879 – the highest amount since the Great Recession.

What hasn’t changed since the last time I blogged about this are historically low charge-offs.

Though credit card debt is skyrocketing, borrowers are managing to keep it in check.

They’re also managing to pay interest fees – not a good habit to get into as credit card APRs are nearing record-highs.

Are You Carrying Credit Card Debt?

Stop it.

If you’re carrying a balance from month-to-month – especially anywhere near the average $7,879 – you’re mismanaging your credit cards.

Credit cards should be used for two things: 1) convenience, and 2) to build credit. That means only charging as much to them as you can afford to pay back within one billing cycle. If you spill into the next, fine. But your number one goal should always be returning your balance to zero.

What’s never okay is accepting credit card debt as a fact of your financial life.

There are 3 steps to paying off credit card debt. Here they are.

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