UNITED STATES (WDAM) - With Christmas just around the corner, a WalletHub study projected that U.S. consumers will have spent a net increase of about $80 billion in credit card debt in 2016. And many could argue that Americans like to spend money they do not have.
The study reported, "Outstanding credit card debt is at the highest point since the end of 2008, and Q3 did nothing to divert us from a collision course with the $1 trillion mark."
As a result, WalletHub predicted that indebted households will owe an average amount of $8,380 by the end of 2016.
In 2016's third quarter alone, U.S. consumers racked up a record-setting $21.9 billion in credit card debt.
The study said, "the third quarter of 2016 represents serious cause for concern."
In fact, this is the biggest third-quarter debt increase since 2007, and the seventh largest in the last three decades.
And last year was not much better with Americans adding $71 billion to the credit card tab.
"So it is not a question of whether consumers are weakening financially, but rather how long this trend toward pre-recession habits will last and just how bad it will get," the study said.
Here are some other main findings from the study:
- 2016's third quarter of $21.9 billion credit card debt is nearly 60 percent higher than the post-Great Recession average.
- Just in quarter three of this year, the average indebted household's balance spiked to $7,941. That is $523 below a tipping point that WalletHub calls as being unsustainable.
- Charge-off rates remain near historical lows and that continues to make lenders want to extend credit. But the study said there will be a tipping point eventually.
To see raw data from the WalletHub study, click here.