Number of new credit card accounts spikes in March

In another sign that consumers are beginning to feel more positively about their own personal finances, and are once again more willing to deal with credit card debt, the number of new accounts rose significantly in March.

Consumers opened 14 percent more credit card accounts in March than they did in the same period last year, according to the latest National Credit Trends Report issued monthly by the credit monitoring bureau Equifax. However, they may also be more responsible in dealing with their outstanding debts, as the month also saw the number of on-time bill payments rise and debt levels drop.

“Across multiple loan products, we are clearly seeing indicators of sustained credit growth – most notably within automobile finance and bankcard originations,” said Michael Koukounas, senior vice president of special client services for Equifax. “Consumer behavior is now fueling much of this improved loan performance as borrowers are more aggressively paying off their outstanding debts, which is positively impacting their credit risk scores and making them more attractive to lenders.”

All major credit card lenders in the U.S. have seen charge offs and delinquent accounts drop significantly over the last year.