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Australians continue to cut down on credit card debt

Eden Radford avatar
Eden Radford
- 3 min read
Australians continue to cut down on credit card debt

Australia’s total credit card debt has decreased for the fourth month in a row, with the latest data showing a drop of $158 million between August and September.

The RBA credit card statistics, released today, also shows that while debt is down, the number of credit card accounts continues to increase, with almost 194,000 more accounts compared to the same time last year.

Credit card statistics: personal credit in September 2023

Note: commercial cards are excluded

AmountMonthly changeYear-on-year change
Debt accruing interest$17.27 billion-$158 million-$473 million
-0.91%-2.82%
Number of accounts12.61 million+11,721+193,625
+0.09%1.56%

Source: RBA, released 7 November 2023, original data, excludes commercial cards. Monthly change is August 2023 to September 2023, year-on-year change is September 2022 to September 2023.

Balances accruing interest vs number of accounts

Balance accruing interest vs number of accounts

Source: RBA

Total value of transactions: personal credit and debit cards in September 2023

AmountMonthly changeYear-on-year change
Value of credit card transactions (personal cards only)$27.25 billion+$374 million+$1.53 billion
+1.39%+5.95%
Value of debit card transactions$48.81 billion-$465 million+$3.29 billion
-0.96%+7.23%
Total$76.06 billion+$839 million+$4.82 billion
+1.11%+6.77%

Source: RBA, released 7 November 2023, seasonally adjusted data, excludes commercial cards. Monthly change is August 2023 to September 2023, year-on-year change is September 2022 to September 2023.

RateCity.com.au research director, Sally Tindall, said: “Credit cards might be making a comeback, but Australians are using them more wisely.”

“It’s remarkable to see credit card debt drop for the fourth consecutive month, despite a rise in both the number of accounts and the value of purchases made in September,” she said.

“At $17.27 billion, Australia’s total credit card debt attracting interest charges is still way too high, but at least it’s moving in the right direction at a time when many family finances are under extreme pressure.

“While not everyone will have refrained from using the credit card to plug a hole in their budget, the data suggests some Australians have wised up to the pitfalls of this strategy.

“If you’re having trouble balancing the budget, don’t reach for the credit card, because if you can’t clear that debt when your next bill comes around, you’ll end up with an even bigger problem on your hands,” she said.

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Product database updated 15 Jun, 2024

This article was reviewed by Research Director Sally Tindall before it was published as part of RateCity's Fact Check process.

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