NEW YORK (MainStreet) — The amount of debt carried by consumers nationwide rose slightly in April, and was restrained significantly by Americans’ efforts to slash their credit card balances.
Nationwide revolving credit – the type of loan balance that can be subtracted from and added to from one month to the next, which is most commonly associated with credit card debt – fell 4.8% in April on a year-over-year basis to a total of $862.3 billion, according to the latest consumer credit statistics published by the Federal Reserve Board. That’s down from the $865.7 billion figure observed in March, following a 5.1% increase from the same month the prior year. The April total was still slightly higher than that seen at the end of February, though, when balances totaled $862 billion.
At the same time, the interest rates consumers paid on those accounts held steady, the report said. The rates for all credit card accounts held steady at 12.34% between February and the end of the first quarter, while those for accounts assessed interest stayed somewhat higher at 13.04%.
But even as consumers were more conscientious in slashing their outstanding credit card debt, they still increased the amount of installment loans they carried, the report said. Nonrevolving credit – that is, installment loans not including mortgages and typically made up largely of education and auto financing – rose once again in April, growing 7.1% from the same month in 2011 to a total of close to $1.69 billion. That’s up from the slightly less than $1.68 billion in March, and more than $1.64 billion at the end of last year.