American consumers are on pace to add $43.5 billion in credit card debt this year and the average household now has about $6,700 in such debt, according to CardHub.com.
CardHub.com, a service of Evolution Finance of Arlington, Va., said the key findings of its second quarter report include good and bad news for consumers.
“On the bright side, we have done a better job paying our credit card bills each of the past two quarters than we did last year, marking the first time since 2009 that we’ve seen two consecutive quarters of improvement relative to the respective quarters the year before,” said Card Hub CEO Odysseas Papadimitriou.
“While the metrics have indeed been better, you must consider the basis for comparison: 2011 was a bad year for consumer overleveraging, with credit card debt increasing by $46.7 billion during the course of the year, and the fact that we've only seen slight improvements this year means we are on a similar track,” Papadimitriou said.
Papadimitriou concluded, “I hate to sound like a broken record, but people simply cannot continue to live in denial, thinking that the economy’s improvement means they can take spending back to pre-recession levels. Pre-recession spending was inextricably tied to the housing bubble, and its collapse means that we all have to adjust.
“Perhaps more people have gotten the message, judging from our improved performance thus far this year relative to last, but our pay downs were still more significant and our buildups less severe than in 2010 when we were battening down the hatches in the face of the recession.”
The card comparison and evaluation service’s complete Q2 2012 Credit Card Debt Study is available online.