The Reserve Bank’s data for credit and charge cards in the September quarter found balances accruing interest fell a further 2.63% month-to-month to reach $21.2 billion – the lowest it has been since 2004.
Whether it’s contributed to the recent stimulus payments, a more frugal household budget during the pandemic, or a rise in the use of debit cards, the data is the latest in an enormous slide experienced since pre-COVID and, indeed, over the past 12 months.
In that period, interest on balances accruing has fallen by 28%, and 23.8% specifically since the COVID-19 breakout in March.
This has, in turn, had an impact on spending figures. The RBA’s data indicates that purchases on credit cards has fallen more than 6% year-on-year, while the value of those purchases fell by nearly 15%.
In the lead-up to Christmas, we traditionally see a spike in spending as consumers get organised for Christmas and the holidays. While there are no expectations for a miraculous recovery, that is expected to remain the case this year – certainly, if the data is to be believed.
According to the RBA, based on the month-to-month figures, credit card purchases, and their value rose by just under 1% each, indicating a pre-Christmas recovery could be on the cards.