The latest consumer credit report from Equifax shows that American retailers have opened the largest number of credit card accounts for consumers since 2009.
The nationwide credit reporting and analytical firm's National Consumer Credit Trends Report revealed retailers have opened 183 million credit card accounts for consumers and that consumers have charged more the $56 billion on those cards, more than a 6.4% increase year over year.
"The holiday season is almost upon us and retailers are eager to capture the hearts and wallets of the American consumer," said Equifax Chief Economist Amy Crews Cutts. "Retail cards are a great way to do both. Retailers can leverage these cards to drive traffic to their stores through special offers to cardholders and can encourage larger purchases by offering favorable interest-rate promotions for big ticket items. As long as consumers resist the urge to overspend, these cards can be a great way to save money when holiday shopping."
The firm also reported retailers issued a total of $46.6 billion in new loans to customers between January and August of this year, a move up of 11.6% over the same period last year and that they issued 24.6 million cards over the same period, an increase of 8.8% from the same time in 2012.
And it is not only holders of the best paper that are seeing the increase. The credit reporting bureau reported that retail lending to consumers with scores of less than 660 – which is where Equifax places the subprime line – increased by 15.8% over one year ago, with 8.2 million loans made.