Credit Card Delinquencies on the Rise

November 26, 2013 Posted by kingcade

According to TransUnion, more Americans fell behind on their credit card payments in the third quarter. The rate of credit card payments at least 90 days overdue rose in the July-September quarter to 1.36% from the previous three-month period, when it was 1.27% — the lowest level on records going back to 2007.

That is expected to happen again in the current quarter, as many consumers are hitting the stores for the holiday season and then delay payments on their credit cards until early 2014. TransUnion projects the credit card delinquency rate will increase to around 1.48% in the fourth quarter.

Since 2007, the late-payment rate on credit cards has averaged about 2.2%. In the third quarter, credit card debt per borrower fell 1.3% versus the same quarter last year to $5,235. It was essentially flat compared to the previous quarter, TransUnion said. This can be attributed to slow and steady job growth and small wage gains, which have made Americans more reluctant to charge goods and services.

According to the Federal Reserve, Americans cut back on using their credit cards in September for the fourth straight month. Consumers increased their borrowing by $13.7 billion to $3.05 trillion, but the increase was driven entirely by higher borrowing for auto and student loans, which increased $15.8 billion. Credit card debt fell $2.1 billion.

The string of declines in credit card debt will likely hold back consumer spending, which accounts for 70% of economic activity.

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