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Credit card usage declines in November

Jan 11, 2011 Brian Bradley

Consumers continued to make wiser credit decisions during November by decreasing the amount borrowed using credit cards, The Wall Street Journal reports. Driven by high unemployment and diminishing home values, consumers cut their credit card usage by 6.3 percent ($4.2 billion) in November - despite the start of the holiday shopping season. Overall credit card usage totaled $796.5 billion in transactions, yet usage has not increased in a monthly period since August 2008, the Journal details. The continued drop comes as consumers watch their pennies with greater motivation to improve their credit scores. "There definitely is an overall trend that's showing usage is down," Tammy Williams, president and chief executive officer of Brillion, Wisconsin-based Best Advantage Credit Union, told the Green Bay Press-Gazette. "I think people are just tapped out." Consumer credit improved for the second straight month in November, climbing 3.5 percent and beating the Federal Reserve's prediction of 1.7 percent. In dollar amounts, consumer credit increased 0.7 percent to $2.4 billion.