Friday, June 19, 2009

As our government racks up its credit card bill...

we're paying ours down, for the first time

Our credit card debt is falling for the first time on record.

Reserve Bank figures released yesterday that Australians each owed an average of $3080 on cards in April, some $37 less than a year before. It's the first year in which credit card debt has fallen in the 14 years figures have been collected.

A separately-released Melbourne Institute survey finds that more of us are saving relative to those going into debt...

...with the so-called Household Financial Conditions Index climbing from 28.3 to 31.5 since March.

"This survey was conducted this month after most tax payers had received a one-off stimulus payment, said Institute research fellow Michael Chua. "That could account for the boost in conditions."

Australians are rapidly turning away from using credit cards to obtain cash, with the number of cash advances falling further in April to an 11-year low. Only 1 in 6 cardholders used their cards to obtain cash in April, down from 1 in 5 a year previously.

Import figures also released yesterday suggest we are spending ever more cautiously. Imports slid a further 5 per cent in May to be down 15 per cent over the year.