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Canadians borrow more but on fewer credit cards: report

  - Sean MacEntee/Flickr
— image credit: Sean MacEntee/Flickr

Canadians have higher balances on their credit cards despite opening less of them, a TransUnion report has found.

The consumer credit agency found that the average Canadian is carrying $4,094 in credit card debt. That's up 2.3 per cent between the end of 2015 and the end of 2016. British Columbians bucked that trend with a decrease of 2.3 per cent. Despite that, TransUnion reports that B.C. residents still carry the third-highest amount of credit card debt at $4,223, behind only Alberta with $4,948 and Saskatchewan with $4,550.

Canadians aren't just carrying more credit card debt, they're also not paying it back, the report found. The number of people with an balance 90 days or more past due rose by 3.2 per cent since 2015. That resulted in Canadians as a whole carrying $94.2 billion in outstanding balances in 2016 compared to $91.2 billion in 2015.

According to the report, the number of active credit cards declined by 880,000 during that same period partially due to fewer Canadians opening up new accounts.

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