WASHINGTON -- In an effort to take some of the heat of the issue of credit card issuer practices and credit card debt, the American Bankers Association has suggested that Americans' credit card debts are not as large as widely believed.
In a backgrounder to the issue released last week, the ABA cited a Government Accountability Office study which found "median credit card balance among families carrying a balance was $2,200 in 2004 (the most recent year this information is available), meaning that 50 percent of families with credit card debt owe more than $2,200, while 50 percent owe less than $2,200"
But the ABA suggestion has run into a buzz saw at Cardtrak.com, a Web site and research firm which tracks cards trends. The site pointed out the study the ABA used is four years old and that more recent data it and other sources have collected points to a more serious situation.
"Based on industry figures, and discounting balances paid-off in full each month and commercial credit card debt, Americans were revolving about $672 billion on all credit cards at the end of last year," Cardtrak said. "Furthermore, the latest revolving credit figures released by the Federal Reserve show Americans owed $920 billion in September, which includes lines of credit attached to checking accounts."