Moody’s reports rise in charge-off rate

Moody’s reported this week the charge-off rate for credit cards rose 58 base points in August, showing Americans are still finding difficulty handling their credit card debt. The Moody’s Investors Service Credit Card Indices Report was consistent with seasonal patterns, meaning the results were along the lines of what most industry analysts expected.

“The relative improvement in card charge-offs is due to credit tightening, including lower credit limits and stricter underwriting standards,” stated Jeffrey Hibbs, Moody’s Analyst. “Charge-offs are expected to decline even further given the improvement in delinquency rates, which are often a harbinger of the future charge-off rate trend.”

The delinquency rate in August fell 23 base points, however, according to Moody’s. Delinquency rates are considered an indicator of future losses. The rate measures the number of consumers who are 30 days or later on credit card payments.

The early-stage delinquency rate, which accounts for loans between 30 and 59 days past due, fell two base points in August to 1.2 percent. Issuers write off delinquent accounts when they no longer expect the borrower to repay the debt. Consumers struggling with credit card debt can consider consolidation to reduce their monthly payments.