Sacramento-area residents are holding the line on bank card debt but spending more freely on retail-branded store credit cards.
Equifax, the Atlanta-based credit-rating firm that periodically issues debt reports on the nation’s 25 largest metro markets, said retail store credit card debt throughout the Sacramento area in this year’s third quarter totaled more than $344 million, up nearly 6.5 percent from about $323.1 million in the third quarter of 2012.
Area consumers using bank-branded credit cards owed slightly more than $4 billion through this year’s third quarter, up less than 0.5 percent from about $3.99 billion in the year-ago period.
The regional statistics dovetailed with a national trend. Equifax said retail card debt grew 7.05 percent nationwide year-over-year while bank card debt was up only by 0.37 percent.
Equifax analysts speculated that U.S. consumers are being more precise in their credit choices in the aftermath of the recession.
“Consumers may be opting for retail credit cards because of the promotions, discounts and other perks they get at the register,” said Trey Loughran, president of Equifax Personal Solutions. “Other consumers are likely compartmentalizing their purchases – opening retail accounts to pay for larger purchases over time and using their bank cards for everyday purchases like gas and groceries to be paid in full each month.”
Call The Bee’s Mark Glover, (916) 321-1184.