(MUNCIE, Ind.) – When Hoosiers couldn’t go anywhere during the pandemic, they paid down their credit cards instead.
The average household reduced its credit-card debt by 13.5% over the last year. The personal-finance website WalletHub says it was about half that in Indy and Fort Wayne, but that’s still more than $600.
Ball State economist Michael Hicks says we had fewer things to spend on when everything was closed. And he says many people used their three rounds of federal stimulus checks to pay down debt.
Hicks says sending money to Visa and MasterCard instead of going shopping should still stimulate the economy. As people carry less debt, interest rates drop, which encourages both household spending and business investments in new equipment. He says you’re already seeing the leading edge of that effect in a housing boom. He predicts more spending will follow as people do home improvement projects or start taking vacations again.
WalletHub says the average household still has a balance of about $7,500. In Indy and Fort Wayne, it’s more than $9,000.