Equifax Reports Retail Credit Card Growth, Despite Flat to Slightly Rising Credit Card Debt Overall

Store-branded credit cards are becoming more popular with major retailers and with consumers who have the option to save money on their purchases if they open one. Nationwide, new account opening for retail credit cards has rebounded from the recession much more so than bankcards, according to new data from Equifax. The trend indicates that consumers are getting their financial houses in order and practicing discipline as they plan ahead and consider all their spending options.

"We see the increase in retail credit card debt as an indication of rising consumer confidence," said Trey Loughran, president of Equifax Personal Solutions. "At the same time, carrying over balances can lead to debt trouble fast, and consumers should be cautious about not overspending."

Retail card debt is growing while that of bankcards is remaining flat or rising slightly compared to the prior year, according to new National Consumer Credit Trends Report data from Equifax. U.S. retail card debt grew 7.05 percent while bankcard debt was up only by 0.37 percent at the close of the third quarter of 2013 compared to the same period in 2012.

Across all but six of the top 25 metropolitan areas, bankcard balances were flat or declining while retail card balances rose in the third quarter of 2013 compared to the same period last year. Both bankcard and retail card balances increased in the following areas of the country —Dallas-Fort Worth, TX; Houston-Galveston-Brazoria, TX; Miami-Ft. Lauderdale, FL; Portland-Salem, OR-WA; San Diego, CA and Washington-Baltimore DC-MD-VA-WV.

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