This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

On Wednesday, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) released its biennial report to Congress covering the credit card market, and its findings show that the market is on the up-and-up. In addition to the total number of credit card accounts increasing, so has the total credit available to cardholders and the average amount of debt over the past two years.

The CFPB report states that the credit card market has grown in size, as well as in its number of participants, offerings and features of its products. Some of the major findings from the report include:

  • Total amount of credit line on cards (used or unused), is still below recession levels, but has steadily increased since 2009. As of 2017, credit card companies extended more than $4 trillion in credit lines as of mid-2017.
  • In 2016, consumers opened about 110 million new credit card accounts which is about 50% higher than 2010 and higher than any single year since 2007.
  • The average cardholder has fewer credit cards than before the financial crisis, but the number of cards in people’s wallets have increased in recent years.

The CFPB report also shows that, during the same time period, the delinquency and charge-off rates increased modestly. Both rates were high during the financial crisis between 2007 and 2009 and then fell to “historic lows in the years following the recession.” according to the CFPB report. Even though the increase in delinquencies is not huge, “it is a troubling sign,” says Bruce McClary, vice president of communications at the National Foundation for Credit Counseling to NBC News. “There’s nothing wrong with using a credit card, which be a useful financial tool, as long as you make payments on time and avoid going deep into debt,” he added.

 

The report also found that the average credit card debt increased 9% since 2015 and the average balance for cardholders with low credit scores rose at a faster rate; those with really bad credit history saw a 26% increase in their average credit card debt since 2015.

The average American household with credit card debt has a balance of $15,654, according to a report by NerdWallet. Last week, the national average APR hit 16.21%, according to the latest report from creditcards.com, which is the highest average APR recorded since the website started tracking in mid-2007.

Creditcards.com also predicts that as the Federal Reserve continues to boost interest rates, credit card interest rates will go even higher in 2018.

H/T: NBC News

The Platinum Card® from American Express

The American Express Platinum card has some of the best perks out there: cardholders enjoy the best domestic lounge access (Delta SkyClubs, Centurion Lounges, and Priority Pass), a $200 annual airline fee credit as well as up to $200 in Uber credits, and mid-tier elite status at SPG, Marriott, and Hilton. Combined with the 60,000 point welcome offer -- worth $1,140 based on TPG's valuations -- this card is a no-brainer for frequent travelers. Here are 5 reasons you should consider this card, as well as how you can figure out if the $550 annual fee makes sense for you.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
  • Enjoy Uber VIP status and free rides in the U.S. up to $15 each month, plus a bonus $20 in December. That can be up to $200 in annual Uber savings.
  • 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel.
  • 5X Membership Rewards points on prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com.
  • Enjoy access to the Global Lounge Collection, the only credit card airport lounge access program that includes proprietary lounge locations around the world.
  • Receive complimentary benefits with an average total value of $550 with Fine Hotels & Resorts. Learn More.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit, up to $200 per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one qualifying airline.
  • Get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue on your Platinum Card®. Enrollment required.
  • $550 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Regular APR
N/A
Annual Fee
$550
Balance Transfer Fee
See Terms
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.