Credit Cards Increasingly Past Due

credit cards
Stack of credit cards | Image by Adam Gault/Getty Images

According to new data released by the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, an increasing number of Americans cannot pay their monthly credit card bills.

During the final quarter of 2023, credit card balances in the U.S. reached a new high. At the same time, card utilization – the percentage of available credit used by a cardholder – rose, a phenomenon not uncommon during the fourth quarter of each year.

In terms of delinquency, all stages – 30, 60, and 90 days past due – saw higher rates in the quarter, with 30 and 60 days hitting series highs, reported Fox 4 KDFW. Nearly 3.5% of card balances were a minimum of 30 days past due by the end of the quarter, the highest level since the data series began in 2012, per Bloomberg.

Earlier this month, The Dallas Express reported that homeownership costs have been rising in the United States. Costs are so steep that nearly one in five homeowners say they cannot afford a $500 emergency repair without using their credit card.

Unaffordability has been driven, in part, by surging inflation. In March, the Consumer Price Index rose 3.5% annually, far above the Federal Reserve’s target rate of 2%.

The Philadelphia Fed report also highlighted the rising strain many cardholders are experiencing.

“Stress among cardholders was further underscored in payment behavior, as the share of accounts making minimum payments rose 34 basis points to a series high from last quarter’s reading,” reads the report.

Overall, credit card debt rose by $50 billion during the fourth quarter of 2023, bringing balances to a record-high of $1.13 trillion, according to data released by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York in February, reported ABC News.

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