Credit Card Risks in a Darkening Economy

Sizing Revenue Risk and What It Means for Issuers

Report Snapshot

A recession would put more than $200 billion in credit card issuer revenues at risk. Issuers must be fully prepared for weakened consumers hobbled by unemployment, depleted savings, and extra debt payments. And they should prepare for the toll that deteriorating credit card spending and loan risk could take on charge-off rates, merchant fee revenues, and interest income.

Key Question: How would a recession affect consumer credit card revenues?

KEY STAT: As consumer risk and savings return to pre-pandemic levels, credit card charge-off rates could enter a hazard zone—and an unemployment rate spike would push rates even higher.

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Table of Contents

  1. Report Snapshot
  2. Consumers face recessionary threats that would alter their credit card spending and loan risk.
  3. Deteriorating consumer health could punish charge-off rates—and issuers across the board.
  1. A decline in credit card spending could crimp merchant fee revenues among affluent-skewing issuers.
  2. Credit card interest income would suffer as fewer consumers revolve balances.
  3. What steps can issuers take to weather a recession?
  1. Sources
  2. Media Gallery

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First Published on Jul 5, 2023


David Morris


Eleni Digalaki
Principal Analyst
Chris Keating
Director, Research
Jaime Toplin
Senior Analyst

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