Credit Card Market Grows in First Quarter

New credit card accounts totaled 91 million in the first quarter of 2017, according to the latest edition of ABA’s Credit Card Market Monitor released today. Monthly purchase volumes fell 7 to 10 percent across all risk tiers (subprime, prime and super-prime), due to normal post-holiday declines and weak consumer spending in the first quarter.

Credit access continued to expand in the first quarter, with the total number of new accounts increasing by 8.8 percent year-on-year. New subprime accounts saw the fastest growth at 11 percent, though they comprise the smallest share of accounts created. New prime and super-prime accounts were up 8 percent from a year earlier.

“A stronger labor market continues to serve as a bright spot in the U.S. economy, putting more Americans in a better position to establish and build credit,” noted ABA SVP Jess Sharp. “Issuers are responding to consumer demand by extending credit access to more people, but at lower credit lines that can increase over time with a good payment history.”

Outstanding credit card debt as a share of disposable income fell 13 basis points to 5.33 percent, remaining near post-recession lows. The share of account holders carrying a monthly balance rose 0.3 percent in the first quarter to 44 percent of all accounts, while the share of account holders paying off their balances each month fell 0.3 percent to 28.8 percent of all accounts. Twenty-seven percent of accounts were dormant.


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