US Credit Card Debt Grows During Third Quarter

US Credit Card Debt Going Up

According to the credit card reporting agency TransUnion the average amount owed on credit cards per borrower is $4,996, a 4.9 percent increase since last year’s third quarter debt. Borrowers are also less careful about paying their credit card bills on time. The number of credit card payments at least 90 days overdue went up to 0.75 percent, compared to 0.71 percent during the same period last year.

The late payment rate rise is not that alarming however, since it is going up from historically low late payment rates. During the mid-1990s the record low late payment rate was 0.56 percent, reached in the third quarter of 1994. During the second quarter of 2011 the late payment rate was 0.60 percent.

Many Americans during the recession were able to slow down on their spending while working off their credit card debt, paying off their balances as much as possible. The depressed real estate market inspired many homeowners to make paying their credit cards on time a priority, even at the expense of other financial obligations, including mortgage payments.

Ezra Becker, vice president of TransUnion’s financial services business division, says there is not sign that this trend has changed, even with the slight increase in the late payment rate.

“We definitely see consumers being more conservative in their spending and making every effort to pay down the balances and maintain the health of those card relationships,” Becker said.

About James Cannon

James Cannon is an experienced hedge fund analyst. He has served on the advisory boards for various different Fortune 500 companies as well as serving as an adjunct professor of finance. James Cannon has written for a variety of Financial Magazines both on and off line. Contact James at james[at]