Credit card debt increases in Atlanta

In the second quarter of the year credit card debt in Metro Atlanta reached $10.9 billion. This number represents a 4.6 percent increase over the same period in 2013, according to Equifax (NYSE: EFX) National Consumer Credit Trends Report.

Atlanta ranks No. 11 in credit card debts among 25 metropolitan areas, according to the report.

The report states combined areas of New York, Northern New Jersey and Long Island tops the list of credit card debt. Customers in this region owe more than $51 billion in their credit cards accounts.

However, the increase in debt is a healthy economic sign, according to Dr. Kenneth J. Heaghney, State Fiscal Economist and research professor of economics at the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies.

“…Georgia consumers are gaining a bit of confidence are more willing to spend. Stronger growth in consumer spending helps strengthen economic growth,” he said.

Jai John, Georgia State freshman, said he does not have a credit card because he fears the costs and fees associated with it.

John’s fears can be translated into numbers. In the U.S., credit card debt amounted to $604 trillion in the most recent quarter, up 3 percent from the same quarter in 2013.

“This is consistent with national trends in consumption and is further evidence that the economic recovery has gained some momentum,” Heaghney said.

Amy Cutts, Chief Economist of Equifax, said there is a contrast between economy still in recovery and the public interest in credit cards.

“This reflects the steady improvement in the economy, but at the same time also shows how fickle consumer demand for new credit is this late into the recovery,” she said in a press release. “We’re only now exceeding previous highs in the auto lending sector while balances on credit cards remain well-below pre-recession highs despite rapidly increasing interest in new cards.”