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WalletHub Study Finds Consumers Falling Back Into Old Habits with Credit Card Debt

The study found that consumers’ behavior with credit card debt has reversed course in recent years and resulted in an increase in debt. 

06/15/2022 12:00 P.M.

1 minute read

A recent WalletHub study gauging quarterly changes in national consumer credit card debt found that consumers have started 2022 by paying down just $13.2 billion in credit card debt—76% less than last year. 

In contrast to the record-setting reduction of credit card debt seen in 2020, consumers added a total of $86.2 billion in new credit card debt during 2021, which was capped off by a $73.1 billion increase during the final quarter of the year. 

Key findings from the survey include: 

  • Credit card debt decreased by $13.2 billion during Q1 2022. 
  • The decrease in credit card debt during Q1 2022 was 66% smaller than the post-Great Recession average for a first quarter. 
  • Outstanding credit card debt decreased by roughly 2% during Q1, compared to the previous quarter. 
  • Since the end of the Great Recession, consumer performance has regressed on a year-over-year basis in six of every 10 quarters. 
  • At 1.82% for Q1 2022, the credit card charge-off rate was 15.9% higher than in the previous quarter. 
  • The average household’s credit card balance is $8,425—that is $3,157 below WalletHub’s projected breaking point. 

WalletHub’s quarterly credit card debt studies are based on analysis of the latest data on consumers’ finances available from TransUnion as well as the Federal Reserve and Bureau of Labor Statistics. 

Read more findings from the survey here. 

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