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A combined analysis of the credit card market by comparison website finder.com.au and the Reserve Bank of Australia found that there are approximately 16.3 billion credit card accounts across the nation – equivalent to 90 per cent of the population, and up 31 per cent from a decade ago.
Ninety per cent of people aged 18 and over own a credit card – up 79 per cent from 10 years ago.
The research also found that Australians amassed $32 billion in credit card debt that was accruing interest in December 2015 – up 34 per cent from the 10 years prior. Credit card limits rose 61 per cent to $148 billion over the 10-year period.
“This rise in credit limits has outstripped any rises in the cost of living over that period of time, with the consumer price index only increasing 25 per cent since December 2005,” Bessie Hassan, consumer advocate at finder.com.au, said.
“The rise of credit cards has been fairly phenomenal – there may come a time when they outnumber people.”