Credit Cards

TransUnion data show credit availability is higher than ever


Credit card industry growth is still going strong, with new accounts climbing to an all-time high, according to a new report from TransUnion.

But credit card issuers are still closely controlling risk because delinquencies have increased, the credit bureau said.

The credit card industry is thriving

Credit card balances have grown year-over-year for 27 quarters in a row, reaching a high of $847 billion in Q4 2019, according to TransUnion’s Q4 Industry Insights Report.

And the average new account credit line has decreased from $5,247 in Q4 2018 to $5,214 in Q4 2019.

Data from Q3 2019 show consumers opened 18.6 million new accounts, a record for origination growth and the first time that number rose above 18 million.

The industry grew across most risk tiers compared with previous years:

  • In Q4 2019, the number of credit cards grew to 454.7 million from 429.8 million over the same time frame last year and 418.6 million in Q4 2017.
  • The rate of serious card delinquencies — payments that are 90 days late or more — rose significantly from 1.94% in Q4 2018 to 2.18% in Q4 2019.
  • The average card debt per borrower rose from $5,736 in Q4 2018 to $5,834 in Q4 2019.
  • Prior-quarter credit card originations grew from 16.4 million in Q4 2018 to 18.6 million in Q4 2019, another significant jump…Read more>>