Consumers borrowed more in March

The amount of credit card debt and other loans that consumers took out in March rose over the previous month.

Consumer credit increased by a total of 3 percent during March, the final month of the year’s first quarter, according to the latest monthly statistics from the Federal Reserve Board. The change came on similar increases in the amount of both revolving and nonrevolving credit carried by consumers.

Revolving credit – the type associated with credit cards – jumped 2.9 percent to a national total of $796.1 billion, up from the $794.2 billion in February, the report said. This was the first increase in revolving credit so far this year, and the current rate is still lower than the one observed at the end of last year.

However, nonrevolving credit – typically installment loans such as mortgages – has steadily risen all year, and March’s 3 percent increase was actually the smallest of 2011, the report said. Currently, nonrevolving credit amounts to nearly $1.63 trillion.

Consumers may be feeling more comfortable with their ability to handle credit card debt as the economy continues to make improvements.

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