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Card debt up in December

By Lucy Lazarony · Bankrate.com
Wednesday, February 9, 2011
Posted: 4 pm ET

Many Americans rang in the holidays by charging away on their credit cards.

In December, credit card balances increased for the first time in more than two years, according to the Federal Reserve Consumer Credit Report.

The report, released on Feb. 7, shows that revolving credit, which is mostly credit cards, increased $2.3 billion to $800.5 billion in December, a 3.5 percent increase from November.

Consumer spending in the 2010 holiday season jumped 5.5 percent from 2009, according to MasterCard Advisors’ SpendingPulse, a macroeconomic report tracking national retail sales.

For the holiday shopping period of Nov. 5 to Dec. 24, online shopping was up 15.4 percent, apparel shopping was up 11.2 percent and jewelry shopping was up 8.4 percent from 2009 spending levels, according to MasterCard.

Online shopping in December was up 17.6 percent from December 2009.  Online apparel shopping increased by 28.2 percent and online electronic sales were up by 14 percent, according to MasterCard.

How did you handle your holiday shopping in 2010?  How much did you spend?

And how much of your holiday purchases did you charge with credit cards?

Are your credit card bills weighted down with leftover holiday debt?

This calculator will help you estimate just how long it will take to pay off holiday card purchases.

Need a plan for paying down card debt?  These credit card management tips will help you get organized.

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