Credit Card Lending Rebounds As Savings Declines

Record inflation has contributed to a surge in credit card spending, reversing a trend noted early in the pandemic.

PERSONAL SAVINGS RATE VS. CREDIT CARD GROWTH
FOR U.S. CREDIT UNIONS | DATA AS OF 06.30.22
© Callahan & Associates | CreditUnions.com

SOURCE: FEDERAL RESERVE BANK OF ST. LOUIS; CALLAHAN & ASSOCIATES
  • The personal savings rate has fallen after pandemic-driven highs, and credit card growth is back on the rise after steep declines that began in 2020.
  • Credit card spending declined during the pandemic thanks to a combination of less spending (resulting from lockdowns, social distancing, and travel restrictions) and debt repayment (made possible by expanded unemployment benefits, stimulus checks, and a hot job market in which average worker salaries increased 6.9% in 2020 and 9.2% in 2021).
  • Fast-forward to 2022, and a different trend is playing out. Inflation is at its highest in four decades, and with travel restrictions and lockdowns lifted, consumers can venture out to spend money at their discretion. As a result, credit card lending has surged in the past two quarters. It was up 9.7% and 12.3% year-over-year for the first and second quarters of 2022, respectively.
November 7, 2022

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