Credit card debt grew by 424 percent in 2011

Credit card debt is on the rise again, and new reports show massive growth rates in 2011.

Nearly $48 million in new credit card debt was added in 2011, which is a 424-percent increase from the previous year, according to the Chicago Tribune.

The number of new credit debt consists of a $4-billion rise in outstanding credit on top of $44.2 billion in consumer defaults.

“Looking back two years, with the exception of a single quarter, U.S. consumer-debt management has consistently worsened,” CardHub told the Chicago Tribune in the report. “First-quarter pay-downs have become less significant, and the amount of new debt added in each subsequent quarter has grown compared to its respective counterparts in the previous two years.”

The average balance in the nation for February reached $6,105, a slight increase from $6,069 in January, according to In January, consumers were able to drop their debts by 8 percent from $6,576 in December.

Despite the uptick, the total is still considerably lower compared to last year when credit card debt reached $7,168 nationally.

“That’s a general trend that we see,” Ken Lin, chief executive officer of, told “Consumers continue to pay down debt.”

Lin also told Bankrate that debt reduction will continue through the second quarter, but spending may increase as banks sign on new credit card customers.

But credit card companies are already seeing a rise in spending.

Visa and MasterCard reported a rise in the number and value of credit card purchases, according to Debtmerica Relief. MasterCard saw a significant increase in card use in the past two months, with volumes increasing 26 percent overall in January and February.

MasterCard also reported a 14-percent rise in the value of purchases.

Rising credit card purchase values will make it hard for consumers to reduce debt later in life, according to the Debtmerica article.

By Joey Ferguson

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