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Average credit card debt hits two-year high

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.

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“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”.

[Related: Aussies blowing the budget to buy a home]

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Average credit card debt hits two-year high
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Charbel Kadib

Charbel Kadib is the news editor on the mortgages titles at Momentum Media.

Before joining the team in 2017, Charbel completed internships with public relations agency Fifty Acres, and the Department of Communications and the Arts.

You can email Charbel on: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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