Reports: As Inflation Rose in 2021, So Did Americans’ Credit Card Debt

As inflation rose last year to a 40-year high, Americans’ credit card debt also soared, according to analyses published by the personal-finance website WalletHub.

In its Credit Card Debt study, Wallethub found that consumers racked up $87.3 billion in new debt in 2021. During the fourth quarter of 2021, debt increased by $74.1 billion, the largest increase ever reported, Wallethub notes. It was also a 63% larger increase than the post-Great Recession average for a fourth quarter.

By the end of 2021, the average household credit card balance was $8,590. “That’s $2,642 below WalletHub’s projected breaking point,” the report states.

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Many U.S. Shoppers Racked Up Debt This Holiday Season

Many U.S. consumers racked up debt this holiday season, and most of them won’t be able to pay it off immediately, according to a report published Wednesday.

Around 36% of consumers went into debt, spending on presents, plane tickets and decorations, owing an average of $1,249, up from 31% in 2020, according to a report by LendingTree. Despite the percentage of holiday borrowers increasing in 2021, the average amount of spending dropped by 10% from 2020.

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