Retail Credit Cards on the Rise
According to a new report from Equifax, retail credit card accounts are on the rise, both in terms of balances and the number of cards on the market.
There were 24.6 million new retail credit card accounts opened between January and August, an increase of 8.8% over the same time period last year. In addition, the total credit limit on these credit cards rose 12%, reaching $46.6 billion.
The credit card balances in October of 2013 were 6.4% higher than those of October 2012, and the total retail cards on the market rose to 183 million. These numbers are the highest they have been since the economic decline of 2008.
This could be an indication that credit quality is on the rise in America. On the other hand, it could be that retail stores are relaxing their credit standards in terms of approval rates and credit limits.
Retail cards gives stores a chance to promote their products while consumers get a chance to earn rewards.
“The holiday season is almost upon us and retailers are eager to capture the hearts and wallets of the American consumer. Retail cards are a great way to do both,” said Equifax chief economist Amy Crews Cutts.
In related news, Equifax also noticed a rise in bank-issued credit cards, with a total limit of $128.7 billion–the highest total in five years.