Consumer Credit Card Debt Rises in September

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Last updated on April 12th, 2023

New data from the Federal Reserve shows that credit card debt rose in September for the first time in months. The jump in overall credit card debt is a potential sign that the economy is recovering – and consumer confidence is growing – after months of shrinking due to COVID-19. Here are all the details:

Consumer Credit Card Debt Up in September

The Federal Reserve’s G.19 consumer credit report shows an increase of 2.14% in overall consumer credit card debt during September. Consumer credit cards saw a significant spike in debt, with balances up 4.8% in September to $988.6 billion. That 4.8% jump in credit card debt follows a sharp decline of 11.7% in August’s credit card debt.

The rising debt levels are signs that the U.S. economy is recovering from the depths of the COVID-19 pandemic. Credit card debt has been shrinking since March when the coronavirus first began to hit the U.S.

Growing Consumer Confidence

The rise in consumer credit card debt coincides with growing consumer confidence. According to a report by the New York Federal Reserve, Americans anticipate a 2.3% growth in income – up from 2.2% in August. This growing consumer confidence is leading to an increase in spending and debt.

Welcome Relief for Small Businesses

Businesses will undoubtedly welcome the news of rising consumer confidence. Many small businesses have been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, with thousands of merchants forced to close their doors and many more struggling to stay afloat. The combination of increasing consumer confidence and the holiday shopping season may help buoy these small companies and ensure their short-term survival.

American Express and other credit card issuers have been encouraging customers to “shop small” by offering statement credits and additional bonuses for cardholders who support local businesses. While these programs’ impact is mostly unknown so far, they undoubtedly played a role in encouraging consumers to get to spending.

Related Article: The Best Online Shopping Credit Cards of 2020

Featured photo by Sarah Pflug / Burst
About: Cory
Cory Santos

Cory is's "Jack of all trades" and resident credit expert, covering all facets of the credit card space. Cory holds academic degrees in both the U.S. and U.K. In addition to credit cards, Cory finds that jogging, cats, and memes are essential parts of a balanced day.

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