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Retail-issued credit cards hit four-year high, says Equifax

The latest Equifax National Consumer Credit Trends Report has indicated that the total number of open retail-issued credit cards has surpassed the 183 million mark.

This is the most since September 2009 and comes in a period when total balances on retail-issued credit cards passed $56 billion.

Equifax chief economist Amy Crews Cutts said retail-issued credit cards are a good way to "capture the hearts and wallets of the American consumer".

She added that retailers can leverage these cards to drive traffic to their physical and virtual stores through special offers and encourage increased spending through favourable interest rates.

In terms of bank-issued credit, the total limit of new credit issued between January-August 2013 is $128.7 billion, a five-year high for that year-to-date period and an increase of 9.1 per cent over the same time a year ago.

The total outstanding balance on bank-issued credit cards stood at $537.2 billion and has increased year-over-year for four consecutive months.

By Asim Shah