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Recent data from both the New York Fed and the credit bureau Equifax show that credit card debt is rising.
As of September, Equifax found the total amount of credit card debt consumers are carrying is back to pre-pandemic levels.
Some of the rise in credit card debt is because of inflation – everything just costs more these days. Ted Rossman at Bankrate said interest rates on credit cards are also up, and there’s still an element of pent up demand.
“As the pandemic has gotten better, more people are spending on travel and dining and other out of home activities,” he said.
Most of the rise in credit card balances is among people with good credit who seem to be able to keep up with their payments, said Tom Aliff at Equifax. But, he said, “are there consumers that are struggling? There absolutely are.”
The percentage of people who are late on their payments is rising, he said. Especially among consumers with low-incomes and low credit scores. But, “while delinquencies have risen, they’re not as high as they were pre-pandemic.”
That’s likely in part because many people still have more savings than they did before the pandemic, said Josh Bivens at the Economic Policy Institute.
“And plus, we still have a very strong job market, I think inflation’s convinced people this is a terrible economy for people,” he said.
But, he said, it’s not — unemployment is low and there are still a lot of jobs to be found.
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