Australians are increasingly relying on credit cards instead of their own money, with
average debt per card nearing $2,000 and total debt surpassing $33 billion, new data has
shown.

The total debt accruing interest owed by Australian credit card holders hit a two-year high of
$33 billion in February 2018, up from $32.6 billion in January, according to research from
finder.com.au.

The average level of debt per credit card has also hit a two-year high of $1,990.

Further, research from the comparison website revealed that the total national credit card
limit has reached an all-time high of $153.5 billion, with a per capita average of $9,258.

“The average credit card holder is paying interest on nearly $2,000 of their balance,” finder’s
insight manager, Graham Cooke, observed.

“Paying this off over two years at the average interest rate on the market (16.93 per cent)
could potentially cost over $400 in interest alone.”

Mr Cooke urged borrowers to revise their credit card use, warning that the excessive
accumulation of debt could limit access to other forms of credit.

“While there are fewer cards in circulation now than there were at the end of 2016, the
amount of credit available to Australians is higher than ever,” the insight manager added.

The research from finder.com.au follows continued concern expressed by the Reserve
Bank of Australia (RBA) over high levels of household debt, with recent UBS data reporting
that household debt stands at 200 per cent of income.

In minutes released following the RBA’s April board meeting, the central bank noted that
“household debt levels remained high” and continued to “pose an element of uncertainty for
the outlook for consumption growth”.

www.mortgagebusiness.com.au / “Average credit card debt hits two-year high” / Charbel Kadib

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