Credit card debt drops $ 9.9 billion since COVID started


National interest-bearing credit card debt fell by more than half a billion dollars in just one month, to its lowest level since May 2003.

RBA data for October, released today, shows interest-accumulating debt on personal credit cards is down $ 594 million from the previous month, and down $ 9.90 billion since. the onset of COVID (March 2020), in original terms.

Credit Card Statistics: Personal Credit Cards in October (excluding commercial cards)

Rising Monthly change Change from year to year Since COVID (March 2020)
Number of accounts

12.4 million



-1.2 million

Lowest since December 2006




Interest-bearing balances

$ 17.08 billion

– $ 594.2 million

-2.63 billion dollars

– $ 9.90 billion

Lowest since May 2003




Total value of transactions

$ 20.84 billion

$ 956.4 million

$ 499.9 million

– $ 816.1 million




Source: RBA, published December 7, 2021, original data, excluding commercial cards. The monthly change is from September to October 2021, the year over year change is from October 2020 to October 2021, since the COVID change is from March 2020 to October 2021.

Note: Analysis is based on personal credit card data and excludes commercial credit cards.

Credit card debt goes down, buy now, pay later on the rise research director Sally Tindall said Australians continued to reduce their credit card debt, even outside of the foreclosure.

“Credit card debt has more than halved from the peak in February 2012, when the debt accumulating interest was just $ 36 billion,” she said.

“Much of the heavy lifting has been done over the past year and a half. Hopefully this hard work continues into the silly season.

“The lockdown was the wake-up call many Australians needed to quit their credit card habit for good. This month’s data, which was recorded with most of the country outside or emerging from the lockdown, is a positive sign.

“Credit card companies have apparently been successful in stemming the exodus of people giving up their cards, with the number of accounts barely declining over the month,” she said.

Interestingly, debit card spending, which the majority of buying accounts now pay later are linked to, grew 9.5% year-over-year, according to data released today.

“While it’s great to see people turn their backs on credit card debt, if they trade one addiction for another it could still cause problems,” she said.

“Buy now, pay later. The platforms may not charge interest, but they can still sting you if you don’t make your repayments on time.

“People with debt on multiple platforms can see their budgets crumble in the blink of an eye, if they don’t fully know what to owe and when,” she said.



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