(Toronto) Equifax Canada says credit card balances hit a record $107.4 billion in the second quarter of 2023, a sign that financial stress continues to mount in the face of inflation and rising interest rates.

The agency says total Canadian consumer debt reached $2.4 trillion during the second quarter.

Vice President of Advanced Analytics Rebecca Oakes explains that the growth in non-mortgage debt is largely due to the substantial increase in credit card balances and a notable increase in consumer debt at high and very high risk.

The Equifax Canada report indicates that the average non-mortgage debt per consumer using credit activity increased to $21,131.

According to Oakes, despite the increase in credit card debt, defaults are not increasing as quickly as expected, in part because the influx of new credit card users has also contributed to the increase in overall non-mortgage debt.

Equifax Canada says many Canadians are slowing down their credit card spending, but lower-income households are having a harder time doing so, and fewer consumers have been able to pay off their monthly credit card balance in entire during the second trimester.