Credit card delinquency and default continue improvements

Instances of consumers who fall behind in making monthly payments into their credit card debt continue to decline. The latest drops brought both delinquent and defaulted accounts to levels not seen since the start of the recession.

During the month of March, accounts that were 60 days or more delinquent fell to 2.93 percent of all balances, and those that were so far behind on payments that they had to be stricken from lender records dipped to 7.88 percent, according to the latest statistics from Fitch Ratings. It was the first time 60-day delinquencies fell below 3 percent in three years, and charge offs were at their lowest rate since February 2009.

“Despite high jobless claims and unemployment, U.S. consumers are whittling away their debt levels while credit quality measures continue to improve,” said Fitch managing director Michael Dean.

However, some industry experts warn that these improvements may be the result of not only consumers being more conscientious in making bill payments, but also of past defaults locking many riskier borrowers out of the lending system.