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Credit card use statistics improve from 2012 to 2013

Arizona residents may be interested to hear about changes in credit card use patterns for Americans in the third quarter of 2013. The third quarter is traditionally when Americans buy items for children going back to school, and the percentage of consumers that fell behind on their credit card payments increased during this time.

From April to June 2013, the rate of credit card payments that were at least 90 days past due was only 1.27 percent, which is the lowest that it's been since 2007. During the third quarter, creditors saw that rate rise to 1.36 percent. However, the delinquency rate was lower than it was for the third quarter of 2012. A director of research for one of the credit bureaus stated that back-to-school shopping traditionally contributes to missed payments.

Credit card delinquencies often tend to rise in the fourth quarter of the year, as many consumers charge gifts and holiday expenses, then wait to make payments until the new year. A TransUnion representative predicts that the late payment rate will raise to approximately 1.48 percent by the end of the year. The average late payment rate since 2007 has been approximately 2.2 percent.

Credit card debt per borrower remained essentially the same from the second quarter to the third. Average debt per consumer was actually 1.3 percent less during the third quarter of 2013 than in 2012. This is largely due to the recession, which left many Americans seeking to build savings and avoid credit card debt.

When a person's debts seem overwhelming, a bankruptcy attorney may be able to help. It may be possible to negotiate settlements with credit card companies or consolidate date to reduce monthly payments. Filing for bankruptcy could also offer consumers some relief.

Source: USA Today, "Credit card late payment rate rises slightly", Alex Veiga, November 20, 2013

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