Stock Groups

Credit card balances spike after stimulus checks helped reduce debt


The pandemic-induced slowdown provided an opportunity for many Americans to improve their financial situation.

Government stimulus checks and fewer opportunities for spending drove the personal savings rate to a level not seen since World War II, with many consumers using the cash they had on hand to pay down debt — primarily their credit card balances, which have the highest interest rates, averaging more than 16%. 

Consumers are all together paid off a record $83 billion in credit card debt Most people rely on their families for support during the pandemic. But, with the recent price rises in groceries, gas and housing, many are now able to rely on them. credit cardsOnce again.

Federal Reserve monthly credit reportRevolving credit (which includes balances on credit cards) increased by nearly 20% to $1.103 trillion in April, surpassing the $1.1 trillion pre-pandemic record.

According to another report by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, credit card balances continue to rise year over year. They reached $841 billion during the first three month of 2022 and will likely keep rising, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York reports.

Credit card borrowing and auto loans have all contributed to the rise of household debt. record $15.84 trillion.

A big drop, then a huge rise

“We got our new record — it took just 11 months for revolving debt to bottom out and then 15 months from there to climb back to a new high,” said Ted Rossman, a senior industry analyst at

Rossman explained that “it took almost 10 years for peak to peak after the financial crises.” “This has definitely been a V-shaped curve — a big drop and then a big rise.”

He said, “But it is not all bad news.” He said that some of it reflects higher consumer spending. This is good news for the economy.

Credit cards, however, are one of the more expensive methods to borrow money.

Find out more from personal finance:
Some medical debt will soon disappear from credit reports
Emergency savings take a hit as households adjust finances
Key things financial advisors would tell their younger selves

The following are the Federal Reserve raises interest rates to tame inflation, which is running at its fastest pace in more than 40 years, carrying a balance will soon cost even more. 

Since most credit cards have a variable rate, there’s a direct connection to the Fed’s benchmark. The prime rate and credit card rates rise with the Federal Funds Rate. The effect is often felt by cardholders within the first billing cycle.

Annual percentage rates are currently at 16.61%, on average, but may be closer to 19% by the end of the year — which would be an all-time recordRossman says so.

The record has been held to date 17.87%April 2019, set. 

You will pay an additional $832 in interest costs if your APR rises by 2 percentage points relative to the current rate.

It would also take 16 years for the investment to fully pay off.

Rossman explained that “the biggest problem isn’t the monthly payment, but the cumulative effect of paying an astronomical rate over a longer period of time.”

You can consolidate your high-interest credit card balances and make payments on lower interest cards. home equity loan or personal loan or switch to an interest-free balance transfer credit card, he advised.

Subscribe to CNBC on YouTube.