TED ROSSMAN: Unfortunately, no, not surprised. Really, the only thing that is a bit surprising is how fast this is happening. We've seen this movie before with respect to during and shortly after a recession, and credit card debt falls, then it climbs back up and sets new records. The thing is, though, during the financial crisis, it took six years to hit bottom. And then it took another four years to make that climb back up. This time we hit bottom in a little over a year, and we'll probably set a new record about a year and a half after that. So what this means is by mid-year, we're probably going to be looking at the highest total credit card debt that Americans have ever had.
Credit cards, on the other hand, the national average is a little over 16%. And by the way, that's the average of the low end of the range on 100 popular cards. That's what people with better credit are charged. People with worse credit, you're probably looking at 20 even 24%. That's the average on the high end. So even that low-end average is a little over 16%. That's about 13 percentage points higher than the prime rate. That's one of the highest margins we've ever seen. And yes, the Fed rate hikes should be directly passed through, probably looking at between 17 and 25% by the end of the year.
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