According to the Federal Reserve, our country’s citizens carry more than $800 billion in outstanding credit card debt. In a new study unveiled by the Federal Reserve, New Jersey carries the second highest credit card debt per capita at $3,690 average debt per person. While nearly 181 million Americans own a credit card, nearly half do not carry a balance on them. The only other state with a higher credit card bill than us? Arkansas.
That’s not very good news. Our state seems to be bucking the national trend of falling credit card debt. Credit reporting agency TransUnion announced last week that more U.S. credit card holders are making their payments on time. The number of payments more than 90 days overdue was down during the first part of this year. That follows an overall nationwide trend since the end of 2007. TransUnion attributes that trend to the fact that more people are paying down their credit card debt before they are making their mortgage payment.
In addition, most borrowers are decreasing the amount they initially rack up on their credit cards and focusing on paying down their debt. However, the number of cards issued by banks went up last year. New cards rose by 20 percent in 2011 over 2010 and a quarter of those went to borrowers with below-prime credit scores. The reason, TransUnion said, is because consumers with high scores are not applying for additional credit. So, to make their numbers, banks are issuing cards to people with some blemishes on their credit history who want to improve their credit scores.
Source: delawareonline.com, “Credit card delinquency drops,” Alex Veiga, “May 17, 2012