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The economy is generally healthier now than it was a year ago, and the improvements have in turn put consumers in better financial positions. As such, many experts now believe those steps forward will translate to more consumer credit health in the next six months.

A quarterly poll of risk management professionals found that most believe consumer credit will continue improving in the period between October 2012 and March 2013, according to a report from the credit monitoring bureau FICO. For instance, about 52.9 percent of those polled said they felt as though the total number of delinquencies across all types of credit would stay more or less the same in the six-month period, and another large portion believe they will continue to shrink. This is encouraging because historical data shows that experts generally expect more late payments during the third quarter of the year.

Meanwhile, 75.7 percent of those polled said that late payments on mortgages would either decrease or stay the same during the six-month period, the report said. That’s up 4 percent from the same poll in the second quarter, and 10 percent from sentiment in the first three months of 2012. Late payments can have a significant impact on your Credit Report Card.

However, 87.2 percent of respondents said they felt that late student loan payments would either increase or hold steady between October and March, the report said. The remaining 12.8 percent indicated they felt they would decrease, but that proportion was almost double the 6.9 percent who said they felt this way in the second quarter.

Further, 55.5 percent of those polled said they felt that the average consumer’s credit card balances would increase over the course of the next six months, the report said. However, the number of experts who believe it will simply increase, either significantly or somewhat, rose to 32.6 percent from 31.4 percent in the previous quarter.

The majority of experts also felt as though interest rates would either increase or hold more or less steady during the coming months, the report said. However, the proportion of those who felt they would fall rose to 10.4 percent, the largest number predicting a drop since the fourth quarter of 2010.

Though consumer credit health is improving, borrowers still need to keep close tabs on their accounts and make sure they both keep balances low and simultaneously make all payments on time.

Image: dno1967b, via Flickr

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