Credit card debt rose in the second quarter, indicating that household debt could again become an unbearable burden for consumers, according to a recent report.
A study by CardHub reveals that net credit card debt rose 66% from a year earlier. (The Washington firm operates a search tool that allows people to search, compare, choose and directly apply for a credit card with banks and credit card companies.)
U.S. consumers paid down roughly $32.5 billion in outstanding credit card debt in the first quarter, but erased nearly all of that with the largest second-quarter debt build-up since 2009, the study found.
"For the first time in the past six years, consumers reversed almost the entirety of their standard first quarter paydown during the second quarter," incurring more than $28 billion in new debt that wiped out more than 86% of the $32.5 billion paid off in the first quarter, Odysseas Papadimitriou, founder of Evolution Finance, which owns and operates Card Hub, said.
The average household's credit card balance rose by $174 in the second quarter, to roughly $6,800. At that rate, the average balance could hit $7,000 by the end of this year, "reaching levels not witnessed since the end of 2010," Papadimitriou said.
While the economy and the job market have improved, the report notes, data show gains so far are not "as great as the numbers initially make it seem," suggesting that further consumer credit card debt increases will not bode well for the financial health U.S. households.
CardHub projects U.S. consumers will end 2014 with $54.8 billion more credit card debt than they had at the beginning of the year.