Credit card balances in Australia rose 11.4% to $32.01 billion in June from $28.77 billion in June 2006, according to the Reserve Bank of Australia. The $32.01 billion balance is a 1% increase from May’s figure of $31.6 billion, according to CCR sister publication CardLine Global. Australia had 13.5 million card accounts in June 2007, up 4% from approximately 13 million in June 2006.
As mortgages become more expensive, more Australians are using credit cards to borrow money, Denis Orrock, general manager with Sydney-based financial researcher Infochoice Ltd., told CardLine Global.
"The growth in credit card debt is dangerous for Australian consumers as inevitably the credit card will continue to become a cash flow mechanism for many households," he said.
Australia ranks third in terms of being at risk for household debt, following Norway and New Zealand, according to a recent study of 16 industrialized countries by Fitch Ratings.