Americans are applying for credit cards at a rate not seen since before the pandemic. Close to 27% of U.S. consumers said in October that they had applied for a credit card in the past 12 months, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. That is the highest level since 2019 and well above the record low of 16% recorded a year ago.
Americans also want to borrow more on their existing cards. More than 11% of U.S. consumers said in October that they had applied for credit-limit increases in the past 12 months, up from about 7% a year ago.
“Many things are slowly returning to more normal times,” said Wilbert van der Klaauw, senior vice president at the New York Fed. “With that, you expect the demand for credit to come back to pre-pandemic levels and continue on the same growth path.”
Banks charge interest on balances that are carried month to month. Credit-card balances remain $123 billion lower than they were at the end of 2019, according to the New York Fed.