by Bill Hardekopf
A record number of consumers are paying their credit card bills on time as well
as paying a greater percentage of their monthly balance. These were some of the
findings from the February
data from Fitch Ratings.
The delinquency rate on retail credit card
accounts declined in February to 1.61 percent, the lowest level since Fitch
began its prime index in 1991. Delinquencies are defined as a credit card
account over 60 days late. This February figure is 65 percent below the peak
delinquency levels reached at the end of 2009.
Another all-time record
was reached on the monthly payment rates (MPR) on credit cards. This figure
represents the rate at which cardholders are paying back their balances. In
February, this MPR climbed 1.09 percent to 24.83 percent, the highest level
since Fitch began tracking this number.
Charge-offs reached a six-year
low. A charge-off takes place when an issuer stops trying to collect on a
delinquent account. Fitch's Prime Credit Card Chargeoff Index declined from 4.18
percent in January to 3.88 percent in February. In addition, this February
charge-off rate is 26 percent lower than February 2012 levels.
Hardekopf is CEO of LowCards.com, a site
that simplifies the confusion of shopping for credit cards. It is a free,
independent website that helps consumers easily compare credit cards in a
variety of categories such as lowest rates, rewards, rebates, balance transfers
and lowest introductory rates. It also gives an unbiased ranking and review for