What’s your credit card balance right now? If it’s zero, congratulations! You aren’t contributing to America’s record $870 billion in outstanding credit card balances.
According to Q4 2018 data from the Federal Reserve, we have just over $1.05 trillion in total revolving debt, with $870 billion of that as credit card debt. We’ve topped the previous credit card peak set in late 2008, thanks in part to a proliferation of new cards. Almost 480 million credit cards are in circulation as of the end of 2018 – over 100 million more than when total credit card accounts bottomed out in 2010.
Credit card balances increased by $26 billion in the fourth quarter of 2018, the highest quarterly increase of all the household debt categories including mortgages, student loans, and auto loans. Total credit card debt remains below the other three categories, but the increase merits attention – because we aren’t handling our credit card debts as well as we could.