Credit card debt surged again during the third quarter and so did the number of people missing payments, according to data released today, November 7, by the Federal reserve Bank of New York.
Credit card balances rose by $48 billion in the third quarter to a record high of $1.08 trillion The $154 billion year-over-year gain in debt was the largest such increase since the inception of this data series in 1999. At the same time, the 90-day delinquency rate for cardholders increased to 5.78%, up from 3.69% a year earlier.
Exactly what you’d expect at this point in the credit cycle. And exactly what worries me about the economy. The huge surge in GDP growth in the third quarter to a 4.9% annual growth rate was built on consumers spending like there’s no tomorrow. The credit card debt increase makes me wonder if tomorrow might be sooner than expected.
The other non-surprise in the data: The jump in delinquencies was particularly acute among millennials and those with auto or student loans. The three-year federal student loan payment pause ended in October.
“Millennials have seen the largest increase in their delinquency rates and now have rates definitely above pre-pandemic levels,” New York Fed researchers said
Interest rates on credit cards are at 38-year highs.
During the third quarter, some 2% of credit card users moved from current status in the second quarter to 30 or more days past due on at least one account.