Credit card debt rises to $4 billion

Monday 26 July 2004

Shoppers owe almost $4 billion on credit cards and are paying up to 22 per cent interest – rates that the Consumers Institute says are on the verge of "loan shark" levels.

By The Landlord

The total card debt is up more than 7 per cent in the past year, with a big jump in spending on the plastic in the month of June.

Credit card debt at the end of June was equal to almost $1000 for every person, up from about $810 a person three years ago.

Interest rates on unpaid advances averaged 18.7 per cent per cent, according to Reserve Bank figures, but ranges up to 22 per cent, according to a website survey. Shoppers were paying interest on about $2.6 billion of the $4 billion in credit card debt.

Consumers Institute chief executive David Russell said the interest rates were incredibly high and "almost" at "loan shark" rates. "It is almost getting to the 'desperation lending level'. . . the loan shark," he said.

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