CHICAGO (5/20/14)--The credit card delinquency rate fell both quarterly and annually in the first quarter, according to a TransUnion report released last week.
Year-over-year, the rate sank to 1.37% from 1.51%, and quarterly to 1.37% from 1.48% in the final quarter of 2013.
The rate tracks the ratio of borrowers who are at least 90 days delinquent on their general purpose credit cards. TransUnion experts say the recent quarterly and yearly declines follow historic trends for this time of year.
"We generally see lower credit card delinquency rates and balances in the first quarter of the year, as many consumers pay down credit cards that they charged up during the holiday season," said Ezra Becker, TransUnion vice president of research and consulting.
Only Alaska experienced higher levels of credit card delinquencies in the first quarter compared with the previous one, the report found. The largest declines in delinquencies were in Massachusetts, Wisconsin and Illinois.
The report also revealed that non-prime consumers made up a larger portion of those who took out credit card loans in the final quarter of 2013, coming in at 28.95% compared with 27.28% in the last quarter of 2012. In 2007, 37.58% of credit card originations were non-prime borrowers.
"(It's) encouraging that delinquency levels have dropped on a year-over-year-basis even though the share of non-prime consumers gaining access to card credit has increased," said Toni Guitart, TransUnion director of research and consulting. "Together, these findings point to a healthy credit market."
Meanwhile, the average credit card debt-per-borrower dropped to $5,164 in the first quarter from $5,201 in the final quarter of last year.