Credit card spending is up from last year, according to market-research company Synovate. Their latest data shows that cardholders spent $1,559 on average across all the credit cards in their wallet in 2010 a 6% increase compared with the average of $1,471 that was spent in total during 2009.
According to Synovate, the last time consumers spent more was in the third quarter of 2008, just before the financial meltdown. At that point, the average amount of money spent by consumers for the year was $1,710.
In other related news, a separate study conducted by consumer credit reporting agency TransUnion shows that credit card debt dipped to its lowest level in eight years.
During the past three months, the average combined debt for bank-issued credit cards fell to $4,951, down more than 13% from $5,719 in the same period a year ago, the credit reporting agency said. It was the first three-month period in which card debt fell below $5,000 since the first quarter of 2002.
Does this mean Americans are getting better at managing their credit?
Not necessarily, says John Ulzheimer of Credit.com. The increase in spending and decrease in debt unfortunately can’t be attributed to consumers learning their lesson, he says.
“Debt is more extensive now,” Ulzheimer explains, pointing out that interest rates have risen to an all-time high. “There’s much more motivation to get out of it.”