The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's (CFPB) fifth biennial report on the consumer credit card market is out and here are some interesting highlights:
- Credit card debt fell to $811 billion by mid-2020, from its 2019 peak of $926 billion. This is the largest six-month decline on record;
- Credit card delinquencies fell during 2020, erasing six years of increases.
- More than 25 million consumer credit card accounts with more than $68 billion in outstanding credit card debt entered relief programs in 2020. These numbers are much higher than normal and considering that most debt relief programs are scams there are a lot of people getting ripped off right now;
- Accounts with revolving balances declined in 2020. Existing credit card users paid off the highest share of their credit card debt in recent years;
- Late payment and default rates have fallen to historic lows;
- Third-party debt collection industry revenue declined from $14.1 billion in 2013 to $12.7 billion in 2019;
- The debt collection industry continues to eat its own, with larger debt collectors buying up the competition. The number of debt collection companies declined by 30% from 2011-2019. But this just means there are fewer, larger companies out there controlling the market share.
What's most interesting is that people paid down credit card debt during Covid-19, but now that things are returning to normal how will this impact debt moving forward? Also, with fewer, but larger debt collectors operating throughout the country we should expect to see many more abuses and Fair Debt Collections Practices Act (FDCPA) and Florida Consumer Collection Practices Act (FCCPA) violations, along with a concerted push by debt collectors to lobby Congress and the courts to legalize their currently illegal conduct.