WASHINGTON – Americans cut back on using their credit cards in September for the fourth straight month but boosted borrowing in the category that covers auto loans and student debt.
The Federal Reserve says consumers increased their borrowing by $13.7 billion in September to a seasonally adjusted $3.05 trillion. That is a record and follows a gain of $14.2 billion in August.
The increase was driven entirely by an increase in borrowing for auto and student loans, which rose $15.8 billion. Credit card debt fell $2.1 billion following a decline of $885 million in August.
The string of declines in credit card debt will likely hold back consumer spending, which accounts for 70 percent of economic growth.