On December 27, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau released “The Consumer Credit Card Market,” its report on the state of the industry. Mandated to be released every two years by the Credit Card Accountability and Disclosure Act, the report was last released in 2015. The 2017 report focused on tracking credit card market trends and developments.

The CFPB has found that since the release of its last report there has been growth in the credit industry. Outstanding credit card debt increased by nine percent, and the total value of consumer credit lines is now $4 trillion, an increase from 2015, but still below the $4.4 trillion high of 2008. 2016 saw 110 million new credit card accounts being opened by consumers – the most cards opened in any year since 2007. In addition, there was a 21 percent increase in secured card applications in 2016, with 6.4 million consumers applying for a secured card. The amount of new secured accounts opened also increased from 2015 to 2016 by seven percent.

The report found that credit card issuers are also changing the way they communicate with existing and potential customers. As technology continues to evolve, more consumers are engaging online with credit card companies. In 2016 more than 60 percent of active accounts were established by consumers using an online portal. More issuers are providing incentives such as free credit scores to encourage consumers to use their online services. The CFPB reports that as of April 2017, more than 100 financial institutions were providing free credit scores to their consumers.

A copy of the report can be found here.