Americans racked up less credit card debt in the fourth quarter but more people fell behind on their payments.

Average credit card debt per borrower fell 1.6% from a year earlier, to $5,122, while the share of borrowers whose loans were at least 90 days past due rose seven basis points, to 0.85%, the credit agency TransUnion said Wednesday.

That compares with an average 90-day delinquency rate of 1.06% and average credit card debt per borrower of $5,389 during the fourth quarter over a 10-year period starting in 2003.

"The fourth quarter traditionally results in higher credit card balances and delinquencies, much of it to do with the holiday shopping season," Ezra Becker, vice president of research and consulting in TransUnion's financial services business unit, said in a press release. "Both credit card delinquencies and balances are below historic norms."

Borrowers in Alaska ($7,012), Connecticut ($5,820) and Colorado ($5,792) carried the highest credit card debt in the nation in the fourth quarter, while borrowers in Iowa ($4,048), North Dakota ($4,179), and South Dakota ($4,303) had the lowest debt.

The share of borrowers whose loans were at least 90 days past due ticked up the most from a year earlier in Alaska, where the ratio increased to 0.63% from 0.41%; Massachusetts, where it rose to 0.87% from 0.67%; and New Hampshire, where it grew to 0.83% from 0.67%.

Serous delinquencies fell the most in Oregon, to 0.60% from 0.69%; Idaho, to 0.70% from 0.78%; and Montana, to 0.53% from 0.58%.

Nationwide, delinquency rates rose in the fourth quarter from a year earlier in 39 states and Washington, D.C., fell in nine states and remained unchanged in two states.

Subscribe Now

Access to authoritative analysis and perspective and our data-driven report series.

14-Day Free Trial

No credit card required. Complete access to articles, breaking news and industry data.