With Stimmies Fading, Consumers Dip Into Credit Cards for First Time Since 2019, but Only a Little. Everyone’s Relieved.

by Wolf Richter
Wolf Street

No one wants consumers to pay off their high-interest credit cards, least of all banks, and consumers had threatened to do just that.

The last round of stimulus checks started going out in March, and people continued to receive them in waves, and used them to drive retail sales to fabulous records in March and April. But in May, the magic was starting to fade. And May is when consumers dipped into their credit cards again.

Credit card debt and other revolving credit, such as personal lines of credit, ticked up by $9 billion, or by 1.0% in May from April, seasonally adjusted, according to the Federal Reserve this afternoon. As measly as this uptick was, it was the first major increase since February 2020, and the largest percentage increase since December 2019. This followed many months during which consumers had paid down their credit cards.

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