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Credit card debt hit all-time high in Q2 as financial pressure builds: Equifax

Equifax logos are shown on paper in Toronto on Oct.17, 2019. Equifax Canada says credit card balances reached an all-time high of $107.4 billion in the second quarter of 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Christopher Katsarov

TORONTO — Equifax Canada says credit card balances hit an all-time high of $107.4 billion in the second quarter of 2023, in a sign financial stress continued to build in the face of inflation and rising interest rates.

The agency says total Canadian consumer debt reached $2.4 trillion during the second quarter.

Vice-president of advanced analytics Rebecca Oakes says non-mortgage debt growth was largely due to substantial growth in credit card balances and a notable increase in debt among subprime and deep subprime consumers. 

The report by Equifax Canada said average non-mortgage debt per credit-active consumer edged up to $21,131.

Oakes says despite mounting credit card debt, credit card delinquencies aren't rising as fast as expected, in part because of an influx of new credit card users which also contributed to the growth in overall non-mortgage debt. 

Equifax Canada says many Canadians are slowing down their credit card spending, but lower-income households are having a harder time curbing spending, and fewer consumers were able to pay their monthly credit card balance in full during the second quarter. 

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 14, 2023.

The Canadian Press

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