The new year is a good time to focus on paying down credit card balances accrued over previous months, particularly during the holidays, even if, like many Americans, you are carrying less credit card debt than you were before the pandemic.
Over all, American credit card balances dipped 13 percent from the end of 2019 through the third quarter of 2020, as consumers spent less and whittled card debt during the pandemic, according to federal data.
Requests for help with credit card debt typically spike at the start of a year, according to Money Management International, a nonprofit credit counseling agency, but “we have not seen the normal increase we would have seen,” said Thomas Nitzsche, a spokesman for the agency.
Americans who didn’t lose their jobs were left with more cash to pay down card debt.
And the federal government’s pandemic relief efforts, including cash stimulus payments, further bolstered their finances, said Ted Rossman, an industry analyst for CreditCards.com.
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Money Management, CreditCards.com, Federal Reserve Bank of New
Federal Reserve Bank of New York