CFPB: Total Credit Card Balances Fell by Record Amount in 2020

Following the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, credit card debt fell to $811 billion in the second quarter of 2020, before rising to $825 billion by the end of the year, the largest six-month decline on record, according to the biennial Credit CARD Act report released by the CFPB today.

Despite shocks to the financial system from the COVID-19 pandemic, credit card market conditions remain relatively stable, the report said, with stability supported by robust fiscal measures, lower consumer spending, and voluntary industry relief programs.

Consumers opened 84.8 million new credit card accounts in 2020, a 21.5% decline from the prior year. Of the new credit card accounts, 53.7 million were general purpose, the lowest since 2013, and 31.1 million were private label.

In 2020, roughly 24 million cards were issued to consumers with superprime credit scores, 13 million to prime, 7 million to near-prime, 5 million to subprime and 5 million to consumers with deep subprime scores, the CFPB noted. Credit card delinquency rates declined in 2020, erasing six years of increases.