As we move into 2013, U.S. consumers are carrying balances exceeding $850 billion on approximately 600 million credit
card accounts. This is down from the peak of more than $950 billion during 2009-2010, but credit card debt is still the third largest component of household indebtedness, behind only mortgages and student loan
debt. Americans’ love affair with plastic continues as many have come to rely on their credit cards
to weather extended periods of unemployment in a stagnant economy.