Credit card issuers have already cut the credit limits or closed credit card accounts entirely for about 1 in 4 credit card holders–almost 50 million Americans–in the past 30 days, according to a survey byLending Tree’s Compare Cards website. The reductions particularly affected men between the ages 18 and 38, according to the survey.
Lenders aren’t required to tell customers when their credit limits are lowered, LendingTree analyst Matt told cBS News, adding that many lenders made their moves in the past month to avert losses if cash-strapped consumers struggle to keep up with payments.
The move by credit card issuers is right out of the credit crunch playbook that historically has seen lenders cutting credit in order to reduce their risk exposure just when borrowers need credit most. Credit card delinquencies had hit a 7-year high before the coronavirus recession.The Lending Tree survey reports that 42% more cardholders said they used their credit in the last month compared to the same period last year. Many card holders are using their credit lines to bridge the gap between government cash payments and current bills.
Total credit card debt is about $1.1 trillion nationwide and has been growing steadily since 2015, Federal Reserve data show.