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Credit cards: Average debt, delinquency rate down in 3rd quarter

November 20, 2013|By Ricardo Lopez
  • TransUnion reported that the average credit-card debt owed by consumers fell in the third quarter from a year earlier.
TransUnion reported that the average credit-card debt owed by consumers… (Patrick Semansky / Associated…)

The delinquency rate on credit cards and the average debt owed by consumers dropped in the third quarter from a year earlier, according to a report released Wednesday by TransUnion.

The credit reporting firm found that credit-card debt per borrower fell to $5,235 in the third quarter, down 1.3% from the same period last year. 

Fewer Americans also fell behind on payments, TransUnion reported. The delinquency rate dropped to 1.36% in the third quarter, down from 1.5% last year. 

"Our data show that consumers continue to deleverage, with balances dropping in the past year and remaining near historical lows," said Ezra Becker, vice president of research and consulting in TransUnion's financial services business unit. 

TransUnion's report found that the declines were recorded in every state. 

In California, average credit-card debt declined 2.6% to $5,332. 

Overall, the number of open credit-card accounts rose to 334.2 million in the third quarter, up from 327.4 million a year earlier, TransUnion said.  But the figure is down sharply from 408.4 million in the third quarter of 2008. 

The percentage of non-prime borrowers -- those with credit scores lower than 700 -- fell to 29% last quarter, down almost one percentage point from a year earlier.

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