Seriously delinquent credit card debt climbed to a possibly alarming $5.1 billion in the fourth quarter, according to data gathered by Veribanc Inc.

Serious delinquencies-90 days or more past due-rose to that record level from $4.96 billion a year earlier and represented 2.21% of the $231.1 billion of card debt held by banks at yearend 1998.

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