A new survey indicates Canadians are relying more on credit cards amid persistent inflation and rising interest rates.
Equifax Canada’s consumer survey released Tuesday found that the average credit card balance held by Canadians was at an all-time high of $2,121 at the end of September.
Equifax says the average non-mortgage debt was $21,188, returning to levels not seen since the first quarter of 2020.
Canadians feel less secure about their financial outlook than a year ago, and more than half are worried about paying regular bills like rent, utilities or insurance, especially adults 65 and older .
More than half of Canadians surveyed said they were very worried about their level of personal debt.
Julie Kuzmic of Equifax Canada says the previous average credit card balance was in the fourth quarter of 2019 at $2,118.
She says average credit card debt has fallen during the pandemic, but credit card usage has now increased for six straight quarters.
“Credit card usage is at historic highs,” Kuzmic said in a statement Tuesday.
She said the increased use of credit cards would be a “slippery slope” for some, as debt could be harder to pay off in the current economic environment.
More than half of respondents said they are either looking for more deals at the grocery store than a year ago or cutting back on grocery shopping altogether.
This report from The Canadian Press was first published on November 1, 2022.