Report: Credit Card Purchase Volume Increases in Third Quarter

Credit card monthly purchase volumes increased in the third quarter compared to the second quarter of 2021, according to the American Bankers Association’s latest Credit Card Market Monitor released today. Purchase volumes rose 2.3% for super-prime accounts in the third quarter from the last quarter, 3.9% for prime accounts and 5.1% for subprime accounts.

The share of account holders who paid their balance in full (transactors) each month declined 0.4 percentage point to 36.2%. The share of account holders carrying a monthly balance (revolvers) increased 0.9 percentage point to 39.5%. Meanwhile, credit card debt as a share of disposable income was mostly unchanged, falling 1 basis point to 4.41%, the second lowest reading on record.

“While purchase volumes surpassed pre-pandemic levels across risk tiers, the data show that overall consumer financial health remained strong in the third quarter,” said ABA Chief Economist Sayee Srinivasan. The total number of new accounts (those opened in the previous 24 months) increased in the third quarter, driven by a 12.4% rise in new subprime accounts. The total number of accounts increased 1.1% from the second quarter but are down 0.2% over the last year.