Credit card debt up 15 per cent in Q4, younger Canadians feel hardest pinch: Equifax

TORONTO — Canada’s credit card debt soared in the last three months of 2022 amid rising interest rates and sky-high inflation with younger Canadians in particular relying on credit to make ends meet.

Credit watchdog Equifax said Canadians’ credit card debt increased more than 15 percent from the same period a year earlier and amounted to more than $100 billion for the first time.

In its latest quarterly credit trends report, the agency said overall consumer debt rose in the fourth quarter of 2022, with total debt reaching $2.37 trillion, up more than six percent from the same period in 2021.

Equifax said the effects of higher interest rates have not been fully felt by homeowners as many have not renewed their mortgages, but younger Canadians are feeling the pressures of inflation especially hard.

The level of non-mortgage debt rose 5.4 percent in the fourth quarter, but for millennials debt rose 8.4 percent.

Consumers without mortgages saw the biggest jump in missed debt payments in the fourth quarter, and delinquency rates among those aged 18 to 25 rose nearly 31 percent year-over-year, compared with a 17 percent increase across all consumers.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 9, 2023.

Canadian Press

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