It’s hard for credit card issuers to expand lending when customers keep a lid on their bills the way they are these days.

The percentage of outstanding principal balances that Citigroup (NYSE: C) cardholders paid off jumped 71 basis points from the previous month to 21.7% in August. Such trends helped push up payment rates across the industry. (Performance data for the Big Six through reports filed Monday is shown in the graphic below. Interactive controls are described in the captions. Text continues after the graphic.)

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