Report: Credit Card Purchase Volume Increases Sharply in Second Quarter

Credit card monthly purchase volumes increased sharply in the second quarter compared to the first quarter of 2021, surpassing pre-pandemic numbers, according to the American Bankers Association’s latest Credit Card Market Monitor released today. Purchase volumes rose 13.7% for super-prime accounts in the second quarter from the last quarter, 15.5% for prime accounts and 16.6% for subprime accounts.

The share of account holders who paid their balance in full (transactors) each month increased 2.2 percentage points to 36.6%, a record high. The share of account holders carrying a monthly balance (revolvers) declined 2 percentage points to 38.5%, a record low. Meanwhile, credit card debt as a share of disposable income increased 45 basis points to 4.42%, after hitting a record-low in the first quarter.

“Overall, consumer financial health remained strong in the second quarter as the labor market expanded and consumer retail spending grew robustly,” said ABA Chief Economist Sayee Srinivasan. “The data suggest that consumers remained focused on keeping credit-card balances manageable and spending within their means.”

The total number of new accounts (those opened in the previous 24 months) fell 19% over the last year to the lowest level since 2014. The total number of accounts increased slightly from the first quarter but are down 2.6% over the last year, led by a 17% decline in subprime accounts.