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By Chris Dang

Credit card debt continues to rise – new data reveals

Australia’s total credit card debt attracting interest charges has risen for the fifth month in a row, as households across the country struggle to get on top of their credit card debt.

According to the latest RBA credit card statistics for the month of April, the total credit card bill attracting interest on personal credit cards is now $17.69 billion, a rise of over $29 million from the previous month.

Up until December of last year, Australians had been consciously chipping away at credit card debt for much of 2023, despite the rate hikes and the rising cost of living.

As a result, Australia’s total credit card bill is actually $71 million lower than it was at the same time a year ago.

However, over the past five months (December - April inclusive), things have started to unravel, with the total bill attracting interest charges rising by almost $405 million since November of last year.

RBA: Credit card debt attracting interest charges (excludes commercial cards)

Amount owing – April 2024 Monthly change Change since Nov 23 Year-on-year change
$17.69 billion +$29.37 million +$404.9 million -$71.31 million
+0.2% +2.3% -0.4%

Source: RBA, released 7 June 2024, original data, excludes commercial cards. 

Monthly interest bill clocks in at $266 million for April

RBA data shows customers with debt owing on their credit card are paying an average interest rate of 18.31 per cent.

This means these customers collectively shelled out almost $8.9 million a day in interest charges in April, which translates into over $266 million in just one month.

Since December of last year, the total interest bill paid to credit card companies was an estimated $1.34 billion over five months (Dec – April inclusive).

The number of credit card accounts drops for the first time since September 2022

The number of credit card accounts dropped in the month of April by almost 7,000 accounts – the first drop in over a year and a half (September 2022).

Number of credit card accounts: April 2024 (Note: commercial cards are excluded)

Amount Monthly change Year-on-year change
12.67 million -6,994 +119,107
-0.1% 0.9%

Source: RBA, released 7 June 2024, original data, excludes commercial cards. 

Credit card spending ticks up in March

Spending on credit cards dropped in April, however, overall across both credit and debit cards, spending was up $2.84 billion in seasonally adjusted terms.

Total value of transactions: personal credit and debit cards

Amount – April 2024 Monthly change Year-on-year change
Credit (personal cards only) $35.71 billion -$17.5 million +$1.05 billion
-0.05% +3.0%
Debit $52.51 billion +$2.86 billion +$5.75 billion
5.8% 12.3%
Total $88.22 billion +$2.84 billion +$6.80 billion
+3.3% +8.3%

Source: RBA, released 7 June 2024, seasonally adjusted data, excludes commercial cards. research director, Sally Tindall, said:

“Australia’s credit card problem is continuing to worsen, with debt attracting interest rising for the fifth month in a row.

We’re used to seeing credit card debt go backwards now and then, particularly over the summer months, however, this is only the second time we’ve seen debt rise for five consecutive months since 2018.

While millions of Australians use their credit cards daily without ever paying a dollar in interest, others are firmly stuck on the debt treadmill with limited ways off.

The stage three tax cuts will help some families balance the budget for the first time in months, however, for others, it will hopefully allow them to make headway into their debt.

If you’re having trouble seeing the wood for the trees, consider a circuit breaker that will help you clear your debt for good.

Switching to a low-rate credit card will help minimise the fallout from the monthly interest bill, but switching to a low-rate personal loan, which forces you to pay down your balance in full, could help you break away from the debt cycle for good.”

Credit card and personal loan rates
Average personal loan rate (new loans, fixed and variable) 10.07%
Average credit card rate (of those paying interest) 18.31%
Lowest credit card rate 7.49%
Number of cards under 10% (excludes 0% cards) 12

Credit cards under 10% on

Note: excludes 0% cards that charge fees instead

Card Rate Annual fee
G&C Mutual Low Rate Visa 7.49% $50
Community First Low Rate card 8.99% $40
Move Bank Low Rate card 8.99% $0 for first 12 mths then $59
Defence Bank Foundation Visa 8.99% $45
Easy Street Financial Easy Low Rate 8.99% $40
Bank First Visa Platinum 9.59% $99
Australian Unity Low Rate Visa 9.90% $59
Westpac Lite card 9.90% $108
Greater Bank Visa credit card 9.95% $49
Bendigo Bank Bright card 9.99% $59
Coastline Visa 9.99% $0
Bank of us Visa Credit 9.99% $39


About Chris Dang Chris Dang is an accountant by training and has worked in the Financial Planning industry for many years. Chris brings together property, accounting, and financial planning experience to help clients of Metropole Wealth Advisory create a holistic plan for their wealth.
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