Delinquent and defaulted credit card debt declines in March

The rate at which consumers fell behind on their credit card debt payments slipped, spelling lower rates of both delinquent and charged off accounts for the nation’s top lenders.

The six largest credit card lenders in the U.S. saw their overall charge off and delinquency rates fall appreciably in March, according to the latest monthly statistics from Moody’s Investor Service. Charged off accounts – those 90 days or more behind on payments – fell to 7.35 percent, down from 7.56 percent in February. The firm thinks charge offs will fall below 7 percent sometime during the second quarter of the year.

In addition, both early- and late-stage delinquencies fell during the month, the report said. Those accounts between 30 and 59 days behind fell to 0.98 percent – the first time they have been below 1 percent since the first few months of 2000. Accounts 60 days or more behind tumbled to 3.79 percent, marking the 17th consecutive month of declines.

Continued declines in instances of delinquency and defaults have meant higher profits for most major credit card lenders, as loan loss provisions have been able to be scaled back considerably.