Consumers continue to open new credit card accounts

Many consumers continued to open new credit card accounts in the first half of the year, maintaining a trend established around the end of the recent national recession.

More consumers seem to be feeling better about the state of their finances, as new credit card originations rose 27 percent on a year-over-year basis in the first six months of 2011, according to a new study from the credit monitoring bureau Equifax. The total number of new credit card accounts opened between the start of January and the end of June totaled more than 18 million, a three-year high but still well below the pre-recession total of 36 million.

As with the same half last year, the largest portion of these new accounts were issued to subprime borrowers, accounting for 31 percent of all new cards, the report said. That’s a total of 5.4 million new accounts, up 64 percent on a year-over-year basis.

One potential reason for the continual increases in credit card originations is that lenders are once again sending out more offers for new accounts to consumers.