U.S. consumers cut charge offs during the holiday season

Despite temptations brought on by new rewards credit card offers and big sales by retailers, many consumers spent their money wisely in December and made timely payments to their banks and lenders.

Capital One Financial, one of the nation’s biggest card issuers, reported that while the rate of charge offs and delinquencies have fluctuated in recent months, they both declined in December.

The rate of charge offs – delinquent accounts the bank doesn’t expect to collect – fell sharply during the month from 7.56 percent in November, down to 7.01 percent in December, Dow Jones Newswires reports. However, Americans did struggle with auto loan payments, as charge offs on these payments increased slightly.

Delinquencies – late payments on credit card debt – also fell during the month, as the number of payments 30-days late fell from 4.26 to 4.09 percent in December, according to the news source.

Despite these gains, the industry as a whole is still experiencing a slow recovery from the high volumes of charge offs and delinquencies seen in recent years.