Credit card debt down while overall debt up in April, per Fed

By , CardRatings contributor
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Although U.S. credit card debt is well below its 2008 peak, the total amount of debt in America rose in April 2011. According to the latest report from the U.S. Federal Reserve on June 7, 2011, the figure is up $6.3 billion over March. The April figures for consumer credit show mixed trends: total debt is up, revolving credit card debt is down, and non-revolving loans are up substantially over the previous month's figures.

The Federal Reserve reports that total credit card debt has fallen $1 billion, from $791.1 billion in March to $790.1 billion in April 2011. Since the economic crisis in 2008, credit card debt has fallen consistently on these monthly tables, reports the San Francisco Chronicle.

Consumers in general are eager to reduce their debt, and that attitude has been reflected in a consistent drop in the amount of revolving debt over the past three years in spite of an economic climate in which it's become easier to secure credit.

Non-revolving debt, on the other hand, has seen a substantial jump this month, rising $7.2 billion to $1,638.1 billion in April. The Federal Reserve attributes this increase to students returning to school in the fall and a rising demand for automobile loans, both promising signs of a recovering economy.

However, April marks the seventh month in a row that non-revolving debt figures have risen - a sign that consumers may be moving debt into bank loans in order to avoid credit card interest rates, without actually decreasing their amount of debt.

Might some of these consumers be better off considering low APR balance transfer credit cards as a way to offset their remaining debt? Every financial situation is unique, but zero-interest credit cards do offer a viable alternative to bank loans.


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