Credit card balances have been on a steady rise since the start of the year. While households ended 2018 with $830 billion in credit card debt, they added an additional $250 billion to that figure by the end of the third quarter.
There are several factors contributing to this dramatic increase. First, after years of historically low unemployment, consumers have more money in their pockets. That has allowed them to make more purchases with their credit cards, both for day-to-day items and larger purchases. Additionally, lower interest rates have made debt an attractive option for those looking to buy now and pay later. Finally, the introduction of new technologies like Apple Pay and Instacart have made credit card uses easier and more convenient.
Overall, the jump in credit card debt shows consumers are feeling comfortable enough to take on more debt. This could be a sign of an overall good economy, but if consumers remain overly reliant on debt to finance purchases, they may find themselves in a precarious position down the road if their financial situation changes.