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8 million fewer consumers use bank-issued credit cards

More than 8 million consumers stopped using bank-issued credit cards in the third quarter compared to a year earlier, according to a report released Tuesday by credit bureau TransUnion.

The national decline is believed to be due to more conservative spending among low-risk cardholders, charge-offs among the high-risk segment and consumers trying to maintain healthy credit card relationships as their financial cushion, TransUnion said.

The rate of credit card customers 60 days or more past due on their payments dropped 24.6 percent over the year to a rate of 0.83 percent, while the average borrower debt fell 11.54 percent to $4,964.

Over the quarter, delinquency rates fell 9.8 percent.

Average credit card debt fell 11.54 percent over the year to $4,964, but edged up 0.28 percent from the second quarter, marking the first increase in six quarters.

The auto loan delinquency rate plummeted 28.4 percent year-over year to a rate of 0.58 percent. But the rate rose 9.4 percent from the second quarter.

The mortgage loan delinquency rate rose 3.04 percent over the year to a rate of 6.44 percent.

But the rate fell 3.45 percent from the second quarter, the biggest decline since the fourth quarter of 2006.

Francine Knowles

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