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Credit Card Index – Better Last July

It is true that Americans still have a hard time making ends meet and paying their obligations but the pressure seems to have eased up last July. According to Moody’s Investor Service, more people were able to pay their bills in July; this is a reversal of the earlier trend wherein defaults and delinquency rates continually increased.

Charge of Rate Down

US charge-off rate on credit cards dropped to 10.52 percent in July from 10.76 in June. The charge-off rate is annualized percentage of the total outstanding principal balance that is written off as uncollectable. While the improvement may not seem like much, it is actually the first month-on-month improvement since the September of last year.

Payment Rate Up

Moody’s Index reveal that payments have risen sharply in July across six major credit card companies including Citibank, American Express, and Discover. Payment rates have even reached 17.43 percent which is the highest point since October of last year. The payment rate is measured as the percentage of total outstanding principal balance that cardholders pay back each month.

Delinquency Rate

Overall, the delinquency rate for July is 5.73 percent, the lowest level in 2009. This figure is on track with the improvements seen in the months of April, May, and June. According to William Black, Moody senior vice president, “July tends of mark an inflection point with respect to seasonal trends”. That means that delinquency may be in the horizon because of back to school expenditures and holiday spending. The amounts included in the delinquency rate are monthly balances that are over 30-days delinquent.

Projection Still Bleak for 2010

The charge-off rate is expected to hit 12 to 13 percent by mid-2010. This coincides with the expected peak in unemployment rate of around 10 to 10.5 percent. However, it is important to note that these projections are simply that: projections. These presumptions can easily change if the charge-off rate and delinquency rate lowers in the next months. Comparisons of debt relief programs tell of the same tale.

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