Delinquencies On Cards Dropping

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NEW YORK-Delinquencies on credit cards have improved and are now at their lowest point since the financial crash of 2008, according to Moodys Investors Services.

In March, 2010, the average national delinquency rate was 3.79% on credit cards, down from 4.02% in February and the 17th straight month the ratio had declined.

According to Moodys, Bank of America has the highest charge-off rate among issuers at 4.82% of balances on an annualized basis. American Express has the lowest delinquency rate at 1.8% of balances.

The charge-off rate, meanwhile, continues to decline but still remains at relative highs on a historical basis. Moody's reported charge-offs had declined to 7.35% in March, down from Febrary's 7.56% rate, with BofA also reported the highest charge-offs at 8.18% and American Express the lowest at 3.7%.

Moody's is forecasting that the charge-off rate for U.S. credit cards will fall below 7% in the second quarter. The peak was at 11.5% in August 2009.

Consumers are also spending more with some issuers. American Express reported a 17% increase in card usage. Cardholders spent $187.9 billion during the quarter, compared with $161 billion during the same period 2010. Capital One's purchase volume increased 14% during the quarter, and it opened more new accounts in March than it had since November 2007.

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