Americans had 314 million credit card accounts during the first three months of the year, the highest number since the fourth quarter of 2008, according to a report released Wednesday.
In the same report the American Bankers Association found that U.S. consumers opened 73 million new credit card accounts between the first quarter of 2013 and the same period this year. That was the largest number of new accounts since the two-year period ending in the fourth quarter of 2008.
The findings suggest that six years after the Great Recession ended, consumers are regaining their appetite for plastic, and financial institutions are becoming more comfortable feeding that craving.
Still, card issuers, having been chastened by big crisis-era writeoffs and new regulations, are taking smaller risks today than they did before the recession.
During the first quarter of this year, consumers with excellent credit scores of 759 or higher accounted for 52% of all credit-card accounts, according to the ABA report. That figure was just 44% during the fourth quarter of 2008.
Outstanding credit card debt accounted for 5.3% of Americans’ disposable income during the second quarter of 2015, according to the banking trade group. That was up slightly from the first quarter, when the ratio between debt and disposable income hit a 15-year low.
“While consumers’ appetite for credit has steadily increased as the economy stabilizes, they remain laser-focused on keeping debt at manageable levels and making sure their accounts are in good standing,” ABA Chief Economist James Chessen said in a press release.
In a separate report Tuesday, the Federal Reserve Board found that U.S. consumers had $880 billion in revolving consumer credit outstanding in July. That was a six-year high for the summer months.
Revolving consumer credit, which mostly consists of credit card debt, tends to reach its highest levels around the holiday shopping season.