Consumer Comeback Blog

Equifax Reports Gradual Decrease in National Credit Card Debt

Americans just might have learned a positive lesson from the recession. The latest data released from credit reporting agency Equifax indicates that Americans in most major metropolitan areas are carrying less credit card debt than this time last year, and significantly less since the financial crisis in 2008.

As of August 2012, Americans owed $585.3 billion in credit card debt, which was 22% less than the peak of debt in October 2008.

Though credit card debt across the country remained flat over the last period, major metro areas such as Detroit, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, and Sacramento saw more than 1% decline. However, this debt fluctuates by region. Cities such as Houston and Washington that experienced a milder recession sting, are still paying with plastic.

“In places where the housing bust was the worst, such as Florida, California and Nevada, and in places like Detroit and Ohio where the recession was particularly deep because of a dependence on manufacturing, consumers are continuing to be prudent about using credit. In other pockets of the country, consumers are feeling a bit more confident to take on new debt.” Trey Loughran, president of the Personal Solutions unit at Equifax, said in a press release.

“We are seeing the trend of the ‘disciplined consumer. We don’t know whether this is a long-term change yet, but generally speaking, Americans today continue to be prudent about credit,” Loughran said.