Report: Average credit card debt rises

Credit report company TransUnion is reporting the average credit card debt per borrower grew five percent in the latest quarter and average debt is now almost $5,000.

The credit report company TransUnion is reporting that average credit card debt per borrower grew five percent in the latest quarter. So, if Americans are starting to rely on their credit cards again, is that a good sign or a bad sign?

"The uptick that we are seeing in credit card debt is not by itself alarming," says Katie Porter, a law professor at UC Irvine who tracks consumer finance issues. According to Porter, the credit report only reveals a small portion of the overall picture. Mortgage and car liabilites, which are major debts for most consumers, would be more telling. 

Yet, Porter suggests the modest growth in credit card debt can be read as a sign that consumers are feeling slightly more confident, "They are reaching for that card just an extra time or two a month or making a little bit larger purchases," says Porter.

About the author

Jeff Horwich is the interim host of Marketplace Morning Report and a sometime-Marketplace reporter.

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