Report: Credit Card Spending Limits at Their Highest, Since Recession

According to a recently published report by Experian, which analyzed bankcard trends from the Q3 2013 Experian–Oliver Wyman Market Intelligence Report, there is a 29 percent year-over-year (YOY) increase in bankcard origination volumes (limits). This equates to a $16 billion increase in new bankcard limits issued.

The data

The Q3 2013 (read: 3rd quarter, 2013) bankcard origination volume of $73 billion was higher than the conclusion of the 2008 recession, as origination volume in Q4 2008 was $70 billion.

“The positive growth trend signals a return to more normalized borrowing behaviors on the part of consumers,” said Linda Haran, senior director of product management and strategy for Experian Decision Analytics.

“Notably, the $16 billion year-over-year increase on new credit limits spanned across almost all VantageScore segments, highlighting a return to more confident unsecured lending by card issuers.”

Other bankcard highlights from the Q3 2013 data include:

  • The increase in bankcard originations spanned across all risk segments, highlighting a return to more confident unsecured lending
  • The prime (661–780) and near-prime (601–660) VantageScore® tiers saw the biggest YOY bankcard limit increases Mortgage trends

Analyzing the data for Q3 2013 shows a 12 percent increase in mortgage loan originations, growing from $508 billion to $570 billion year over year. New home loan originations grew 104 percent, perhaps indicating that increased interest rates helped to motivate would-be homebuyers.

As such, new refinance loan originations decreased 22 percent year over year. Consumers with a near-prime VantageScore helped new home loan originations grow by 43 percent YOY, from $83 billion to $116 billion. Super-prime (781–850) VantageScore consumers drove the majority of new HELOC originations in Q3, accounting for 71 percent of year-over-year growth. They were followed by the prime VantageScore tier, with 19 percent.

“The housing market continued to see improvement, as mortgage originations grew despite a rise in interest rates, with the Northeast and Midwest regions leading the way with 29 percent and 17 percent year-over-year growth respectively.” said Haran.

“Another sign of improvement is mortgage originations tied to actual purchases which grew 104% year-over-year with purchases representing a greater portion of the growth versus refinanced mortgage originations.”