| June 4, 2010

Researcher: Credit card debt patterns shift among U.S. consumers

While the number of Americans stuck in the throes of long credit delinquency continued to decline in May, the rate of default remained high, according to research from Fitch Ratings.

The research firm’s managing director, Michael Dean, said that “Charge off rates have been holding steady at over 10 percent for a full year now so the pressure on U.S. consumer credit quality is still clearly evident. On the positive side, cardholder defaults have plateaued so some seasonal improvement should emerge as we head through the summer months.”

The rate of prime credit card charge offs rose by 17 basis points to end the month at 11.1 percent, according to Fitch’s research. Late payments, by contrast, sank by 9 basis points to 4.18 percent for the month.

The inconclusive numbers are indicative of the generally fluid state of the U.S. economy, experts say. While there are some signs that point to an economic recovery, many major indicators remain resolutely gloomy.

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