by Bill Hardekopf
The latest report from the Federal Reserve shows that consumers used their credit cards quite extensively to fund their holiday shopping.
Revolving credit, which is made up primarily of credit card debt, increased at an annual rate of 4.1 percent in December. It rose nearly $3 billion to $801.0 billion. This follows a jump of $5.5 billion in November which was an annual rate increase of 8.4 percent. December was the fourth straight month of increases in revolving credit.
This could be a positive sign that consumers are more confident in the economy. But on the other hand, it could mean that people are struggling and have to rely on using their credit card to make ends meet. Consumers are going into 2012 with higher credit card debt, but the same wages. If consumers have a hard time paying this down, then we might see delinquencies and defaults start to increase by spring.
Find the latest G19 report here.
Bill Hardekopf is CEO of LowCards.com, a site that simplifies the confusion of shopping for credit cards. It is a free, independent website that helps consumers easily compare credit cards in a variety of categories such as lowest rates, rewards, rebates, balance transfers and lowest introductory rates.