On-Time Bill Payment Follows More Holiday Card Use

NEW YORK (AP) - Credit card users didn't suffer a holiday hangover this year.

The top six U.S. credit card issuers posted the lowest rates of default and late payments in two years in January, a strong sign that consumers had a handle on paying their bills after the holidays.

The improvements followed a return to credit card use during the
holiday season, after consumers pocketed their plastic throughout
the recession. Card networks all reported higher usage for the fourth quarter after two years of declines.

Citibank reported the biggest improvement, with a default, or charge-off, rate of 7.49 percent of balances on an annualized basis
in January, down from 8.34 percent in December. Payments that were
35 days or more late fell to 4.35 percent, from 4.44 percent.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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