Consumers cut credit card debt significantly in January

Consumers cut credit card debt significantly in January Americans made significant efforts to reduce debt on their credit card accounts during the month of January, reversing several months of increases in the amount of credit card debt they carried.

During the month of January, the amount of debt carried on consumers' credit cards slipped 4.4 percent to a nationwide total of $800.9 billion, down from December's $803.8 billion, according to the latest statistics on consumer credit released by the Federal Reserve Board. In November, the amount borrowed on consumers' cards increased 9.9 percent, followed by another 5.5 percent increase before the end of 2011.

But even as consumers continued to trim the amount they owed on their credit cards, they also significantly increased borrowing in other areas, the report said. Nonrevolving credit – installment loans like those for education or auto purchases, but not including mortgages – rose 14.7 percent to more than $1.71 billion.

Experts had noted that the increases in credit card debt seen in the last few months, while sizable, may have been the result of seasonal shifts in borrowing for the holidays, which are usually seen every year.