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U.S. credit card debt has surpassed all previous years hitting a whopping $870 billion in December of last year. This upswing, which brought the level of consumer debt to its highest point to date, occurred when credit card balances went up by $26 billion. This data indicating that consumer credit card debt was at its highest level ever was first reported by Bloomberg when the Federal Reserve released a new report.
The data also showed that at the end of last year, credit card debt represented the fourth-largest portion of overall consumer debt in the U.S. What were the top three? Mortgage, student loan, and auto debt took the top three spots. But the quarterly increase in credit card debt grew faster than the other categories. But that is not all overall debt reached a record $13.5 trillion.
Delinquencies and credit card limits are up too
Delinquencies hit the credit reports of just about 37 million consumers last year because they were 90 days or more late when it came to paying their credit card bill. Delinquencies were up by 2 million accounts last year when compared with the fourth quarter of 2017.
Yet credit card limits were also up for the 24th quarter in a row, with limits experiencing a 1.5% upswing in December of 2018.
All together as 2018 drew to an end consumers were carrying $13.5 trillion in debt, which set a new record too.
An upswing in older American's debt levels
While it's tempting to think that debt and delinquencies are problems for the younger set, the data suggests that this is not the case. According to Bloomberg's report, older Americans are now carrying more debt.
In fact, individuals in their 50's carry 24.1% of all the consumer debt, while those in their 60's carry around 18% and those 70 and up make up 11.6%. When you do the math this makes up just about 54.16% of consumer credit card debt.
This is concerning because some older Americans find themselves sliding into delinquency, with those who are in their 50's showing the most at risk.