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Consumer debt picks up

Consumers are heading back to pre-recession spending habits by increasing their net credit card debt, according to Card Hub’s latest survey of credit card debt.

In early 2011, Americans paid down more than $32 billion in credit card debt. By the end of the year, however, consumers racked up a $64 billion increase in debt, CSMonitor.com reports.

The increase is significantly larger than in either 2009 or 2011 but financial experts say that the holiday shopping season causes debit to build up faster in the fourth quarter compared to the second and third quarter combined.

During the first quarter, consumers tend to use their salary bonuses or tax refunds to pay down debt. In 2009 and 2010, consumers paid down more in the first quarter than they racked up in new debt by the end of the third quarter.

The year 2011 has not reflected that behavior, CSMonitor.com reports.

During the third quarter of 2011, consumers’ credit card debt increased 154 percent compared to 2010’s third quarter.

Financial experts say that the situation in 2012 will worsen before it improves and that consumers should act more cautiously, CSMonitor.com reports.

Current credit card debt is far from the debt that caused the Great Recession, yet the fast pace that consumer are adding new debt causes some concern, according to financial experts.

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