Credit card delinquency rate near 18-year low

By WEEK Producer

Credit card delinquency rate near 18-year low

August 14, 2012 Updated Aug 14, 2012 at 3:24 PM CDT

CHICAGO -- Less credit card borrowers are making delinquent payments on their accounts, according to a new study released by TransUnion.

The delinquency rate -- the percentage of credit card borrowers at least 90 days past due -- dropped to 0.63 percent in the second quarter from 0.73 percent in the first quarter.

The delinquency rate is at its lowest level since the second quarter of last year when it was 0.60 percent and besides that quarter, the last time the rate was below its current level was 1994.

"The national credit card delinquency rate continues to remain at the lowest levels we've observed in 18 years," said Ezra Becker, vice president of research and consulting in TransUnion's financial services.  "These low delinquency rates reflect both continued conservatism in lender underwriting and the ongoing prioritization of card payments among consumers."

TransUnion says the low rate is impressive because of the fact that consumers increased their overall credit card debt during this second quarter.

However, this is could come a warning sign, said Bill Hardekopf, CEO of LowCards.com.

"Consumers need to be cautious," said Hardekopf.  "We can't let our credit card debt continue to increase or we will eventually see a rise in the default and delinquency rates.  It's critical for consumers to pay off as much of their credit card balance as possible on time each month."

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