Average credit card debt, late payments fall in 1Q

By Alex Veiga

Associated Press

Published: Tuesday, May 21 2013 10:15 p.m. MDT

The average American was better at paying on time and paying down or off their credit cards during the first quarter of 2013.

Associated Press

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LOS ANGELES — Americans got better about paying their credit card debt on time in the first three months of the year, a period when many borrowers use income tax returns to tackle their holiday season debt.

The rate of credit card payments at least 90 days overdue fell to 0.69 percent in the first quarter from 0.85 percent a year earlier — a drop of nearly 19 percent, credit reporting agency TransUnion said Tuesday.

The January-March card delinquency rate was also down from 0.73 in the October-December quarter, when many consumers ramped up credit use to finance holiday season purchases.

While down, the late-payment rate is above historically low levels. The lowest late-payment rate on TransUnion records going back to the mid-1990s was 0.56 percent, set in the third quarter of 1994.

All told, the card-delinquency rate has averaged 1.03 percent since 1992, said the firm, whose credit trend data is based from a sample of 27 million consumer records.

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