Credit card debt grows in most states

The average amount of credit card debt held by an American consumer may have slipped to $4,965 over the course of 2010 – a decline of 8.62 percent from the previous year – but more people are now seeking new accounts and increasing spending on those they have, according to a report from the credit monitoring bureau TransUnion. Average credit card debt increased in 33 states in the fourth quarter of the year, and the number of new cards granted to consumers was 19.1 percent more than the figure recorded during the same period in 2009.

“[O]n a year over year basis, these balances still show declines, but at a smaller rate when compared to recent history,” said Ezra Becker, vice president of research and consulting in TransUnion’s financial services business unit.

The national amount of credit card debt has decreased significantly over the last year, but many now believe this is mostly the result of mass charge offs rather than more consistent bill payment.