The rate of consumers who allowed at least one of their credit card accounts to fall 90 days or more behind on payments fell to 0.74 percent in the first three months of the year, according to the latest quarterly statistics from the credit bureau TransUnion. This rate was down from the 0.88 percent observed in the fourth quarter of last year, and the 1.11 percent in the first quarter of 2010. In addition, it was the lowest rate observed since the third quarter of 1996.
“From a delinquency perspective, not since the summer of 1996 have consumers demonstrated a better level of fiscal responsibility in meeting debt obligations on a timely basis,” said Ezra Becker, vice president of research and consulting in TransUnion’s financial services business unit. “Even with increased economic pressures, they are placing a premium on paying off their credit card obligations and maintaining the health of their card relationships.”
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Many consumers have made a more conscientious effort to reduce their credit card debt by making on-time payments, but experts also attribute the continual drops in rates of delinquency and default to previous charge offs that locked millions of borrowers out of the credit system.