Aussies owe a record $49bn in credit card debt

Lending practices at Australian banks have been criticised following new figures showing record levels of credit card debt.

New Reserve Bank data has revealed that Australians collectively owe nearly $49 billion on credit cards, with more than two-thirds of this accruing interest every day at an average rate of 19.7 per cent per annum.

Speaking to The Sunday Telegraph about the figures, Carolyn Bond, co-chief executive officer of the Consumer Action Law Centre, said that the body was receiving more and more inquiries from families "with $50,000, $60,000 or $70,000 of debt on credit cards".

She suggested that lenders were targeting the most vulnerable and driving up debt problems as a result.

"Banks and other lenders design credit cards to get people in debt, and try to focus their mind on things other than the fact they are in debt," added Ms Bond.

"They make them think about reward points and special offers and the like."

Australians concerned about their financial situation could choose to compare credit cards and other money products in search of the best options. According to Christian Oey of, who also spoke to The Sunday Telegraph, the company's average inquiry is now about $90,000 per client on credit cards.

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