Americans Better About Paying Credit Card Bills on Time

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By ALEX VEIGA

LOS ANGELES -- Americans are doing a better job of making timely credit card payments, even as many lenders increasingly extend credit to more people with less-than-stellar credit.

The rate of U.S. credit card payments at least 90 days overdue fell to 1.16 percent in the April-June quarter -- the lowest level in at least seven years, credit reporting agency TransUnion said Tuesday.

The second-quarter credit card delinquency rate is down from 1.27 percent in the same period last year and 1.37 percent in the first three months of this year.

The late-payment rate peaked in the first quarter of 2009 at 3.12 percent, TransUnion said. The firm's data set goes back to 2007 and is drawn from information culled from virtually every U.S. consumer who uses credit.

Average card debt per borrower was up slightly in the second quarter, rising about 0.2 percent to $5,234. It rose 1.4 percent from the first quarter of this year.

Americans still have a limited appetite for debt after gorging themselves on sub-prime mortgages and credit cards before recession seized the country in late 2007.

Credit card borrowing started rising again in 2011, but the increases have lagged far behind other types of debt, including auto and student loans.

All told, U.S. credit card debt has increased 1.3 percent over the past year, reaching $873.1 billion in June, according to the Federal Reserve.

Meanwhile, the number of new credit card accounts opened by consumers increased in the first three months of the year.

The data lag by a quarter, so the latest TransUnion figures cover the January-March period. They show that the number of new credit card accounts rose 17.8 percent to about 11.7 million versus the same period a year earlier.

The share of cards issued to borrowers with less-than-perfect credit increased to 31.2 percent, compared with 27.3 percent a year earlier.

That's still well below the roughly 45 percent share of cards going to non-prime borrowers before the recession, however.

In the VantageScore credit rating scale, consumers with a score lower than 700 on a scale of 501-990 are considered non-prime borrowers.

Lenders also are being more generous with the amount of credit they extend to cardholders.

The average credit limit on new bankcard accounts has increased steadily, rising 29.4 percent to $5,230 over the three-year period ended March 31, TransUnion said.

The increase in card credit limits points to lenders feeling they can take on more risk while giving consumers a bigger credit cushion, said Tony Guitart, TransUnion's director of research and consulting.


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frank1946

VISA increased my Debt Limit..................I told them NO !

August 27 2014 at 12:37 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
koos458

Credit card debt is god's way of telling you that you're a financial loser.

August 26 2014 at 7:37 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
pllove49

Must be great for people that like credit cards...they scare the hello out of me...probably why I'm broke..

August 26 2014 at 6:13 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to pllove49's comment
tom.wilson31

Managing credit is as much a part of ones psychological and economic health and well being as brushing your teeth and eating right is to ones physical health and well being.

August 26 2014 at 6:27 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Craig

Aren't people suppose to pay their bills on time? Duh.

August 26 2014 at 3:55 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
fred mosrie

credit cards can get folks in trouble if they are not aware of it. it is not free money. must pay.

August 26 2014 at 1:38 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
cbstinc

****.Americans are filling for bankrupt at an alarming rate... there is no money to pay credit cards. there is no work around.What ae you talking about????

August 26 2014 at 12:53 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply