Consumers slashed their borrowing in August by the most in 16 months. The drop suggests many worried about taking on new debt while the economy slumped and the stock market fluctuated wildly.
Fewer people used their credit cards. And a measure of auto and student loan demand fell.
The Federal Reserve said total borrowing dropped by $9.5 billion in August. That follows an increase of $11.9 billion in July. Consumer borrowing had risen for 10 straight months before the August decline, which was the largest drop since April 2010.
Borrowing for auto and student loans plunged $7.2 billion in August. A category that includes credit cards tumbled $2.3 billion.