New data published by the New York Federal Reserve Tuesday showed that Household credit card debt has risen at the highest rate in 22 years during the fourth quarter of 2021. Total credit card debt in the United States increased by $52 billion.
However, the total credit card balance in the United States is still $67 billion lower than it was at the start of the pandemic, now sitting at $860 billion. In addition, the rate of delinquency on credit cards declined and the sharp increase in the fourth quarter coincided with the holiday season, when household spending generally increases.
Consumers seem to be feeling confident again about their financial prospects and feel a greater sense of security knowing that pandemic-related revenue losses are now less likely. With millions of Americans choosing to use credit cards, which offer the lowest interest rates?
Consumer advice site Nerd Wallet outlines the best deals
Selecting a credit card can be a difficult undertaking, and one that can have some pretty serious financial consequences if you choose the wrong one. social initiative nerd wallet aims to support consumers by “taking a stand against financial inequality” and helping to provide “access to fair financial products and services” in low-income communities.
The folks at Nerd Wallet recommended the following range of low interest credit cards to adapt to various financial situations…
Ideal for a long period of 0% APR intro
BankAmericard credit card (regular rate from 12.99% to 22.99% variable APR)
Ideal for 0% introductory period and flat rate cash back
Wells Fargo active charge card (regular rate 14.99% to 24.99% variable APR)
Best for longer 0% APR intro period
Wells Fargo Reflect Card (Regular Rate 12.99% to 24.99% Variable APR)
Best for 0% introductory period and cash back in bonus category
Find out Cash Back (regular rate from 11.99% to 22.99% variable APR)
Ideal for a 0% introductory period and ongoing cash back
Chase Freedom Unlimited (14.99% Regular Rate to 23.74% Variable APR)
Ideal for 0% introductory period and Grocery & Gas Rewards
Blue Cash Everyday® card from American Express (regular rate from 13.99% to 23.99% variable APR)
What has fueled the rise in credit card debt in the United States?
It’s unlikely anyone’s attention has escaped the fact that prices have risen in the US in recent months as the economic recovery continues. The fallow period during the first year of the pandemic was replaced by new momentum in consumer sector and supply chain issues which drove up prices.
Write in the New York Fed report Researcher Donghoon Lee explains, “We are starting to see the reversal of some of the credit card balance trends seen during the pandemicnamely the reduction of consumption and the reimbursement of balances.
“At the same time, as pandemic-related restrictions are lifted and consumption normalizes, credit card usage and balances return to pre-pandemic trends,” he adds.
As the U.S. economy moves closer to a pre-pandemic bottom line, credit card usage and credit card debt balances will likely rise accordingly.