Fitch: Late payments on the decline

The number of late credit card payments that are 60 or more days behind have plummeted to a 17-month low, says Fitch.

Improvements were also seen in payments made 30 or more days behind for the fifth month in a row, according to Fitch. The combined reductions of late payments in both categories signals that fewer charge offs may be on the horizon.

“Seasonal factors are influencing the improvement in delinquencies and could benefit charge offs in the coming months,” says managing director Michael Dean.

Fitch reported similar trends for retail credit cards. Late payments in the 30 and 60 or more day categories both declined.

There was a minor increase of 3 base points in Fitch’s prime credit card charge off index, reaching a level 7 percent higher than a year ago.

The findings reported by Fitch mirror reports from earlier in the month where card issuer giants, such as Discover, indicated that their card holders were becoming better at managing their debt and making more on-time payments.

Fitch says the the high unemployment rate will make it difficult for permanent and long-term payment changes to take place.