U.S. Consumers Cut Back Credit Card Use in March

WASHINGTON (AP) -

Americans cut back on using their credit cards in March, suggesting many were reluctant to take on high-interest debt to make purchases.

Consumer borrowing rose just $8 billion in March from February to a seasonally adjusted $2.81 trillion, the Federal Reserve said Tuesday. It was the smallest increase in eight months.

The gain was driven entirely by more loans to attend school and buy cars. The category that measures those loans increased $9.7 billion to $19.6 trillion.

A measure of credit card debt fell $1.7 billion to $846 billion. That’s 17.2 percent below the peak of $1.022 trillion set in July 2008.