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Debt Dips

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Credit Card Debt Dips

Lenders battle for borrowers as the economy rebounds

Has your mailbox and inbox been filling up with more credit card offers lately? So has mine. According to one tracking firm, online solicitations for new card customers jumped 85% last month year on year as lenders trotted out enhanced rewards, higher credit limits and low promotional rates.

Why? Simply put, Americans who didn’t lose their jobs spent less, saved more and used excess cash from stimulus programs to pay down debt. So they have little use for new credit.

Overall, consumers shed almost $160 billion in credit card debt during the pandemic, about a 15% reduction, compared to the beginning of 2020, reports the Boston Globe.

At the individual level, Experian reported an average balance of $5,315 at the end of 2020, down more than 14% from $6,194 towards the end of 2019. Meanwhile, the American Bankers Association found the share of revolving accounts hit an all-time low for the second straight quarter in Q4 2020, while cardholders who pay their bills in full each month hit a record-high of 35.1%.

What does this mean for you? According to the Financial Times, you might be able to get a better deal managing the debt you’re currently carrying (unless you’re one of those studious consumers paying off your bill each month).

Among the primary tools making a resurgence are balance transfer offers that effectively poach loan balances from competitors. The promotions apparently quadrupled last month after mostly disappearing last year when most issuers were battening down the hatches in anticipation of a wave of defaults that never materialized.

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The average millennial has over $4,000 in credit card debt—other generations have more.

How to Pay Off
Credit Card Debt Faster

Debt illustration
Debt illustration

Even if you’re carrying less debt, you’d still benefit from paying it off early. It turns out, there are several options available when it comes to paying down your debt quickly. It all depends on how much balance you’re carrying and how fast you’d like to get to $0.