The credit card delinquency rate (the ratio of borrowers 90 days or more delinquent on their general purpose credit cards) dropped on a yearly basis from 1.51% in Q1 2013 to 1.37% in Q1 2014, according to the latest TransUnion Industry Insights Report.

The average credit card debt per borrower also declined from $5,201 in Q1 2013 to $5,164 in Q1 2014. 
On a quarterly basis, both the credit card delinquency rate (down from 1.48% in Q4 2013) and credit card debt (down from $5,325 in Q4 2013) decreased because of seasonality associated with improved payment patterns after the holiday season.  

"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, vice president of research and consulting in TransUnion’s financial services business unit. "Some consumers who receive tax refunds near the end of the first quarter also use these funds to help pay off debts, including their credit cards."

Only one state - Alaska - experienced an increase in its credit card delinquency rate between Q1 2013 and Q1 2014. The largest percentage delinquency declines occurred in Massachusetts, Wisconsin and Illinois. Credit card debt per borrower increased in only 15 states on a yearly basis. 

TransUnion reported 344.53 million credit card accounts as of Q1 2014, up from 329.73 million in Q1 2013. Viewed one quarter in arrears (to ensure all accounts are included in the data), new account originations increased to 13.45 million in Q4 2013, up from 11.56 million in Q4 2012. 

TransUnion’s latest credit card report also found that the non-prime population (those consumers with a VantageScore 2.0 credit score lower than 700) represents a larger portion of all new credit card loans at 28.95% in Q4 2013, up from 27.28% in the same period last year. In Q4 2007, the non-prime population represented 37.58% of all credit card originations for that quarter.

"We see some positive signs in the market with more credit cards being issued although the sector as a whole is growing at a small rate," said Toni Guitart, director of research and consulting in TransUnion’s financial services business unit. "It is also 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. Together, these findings point to a healthy credit market."

TransUnion's Industry Insights Report is a quarterly overview summarizing data, trends and perspectives on the consumer lending industry. The report is based on anonymized credit data from virtually every credit-active consumer in the U.S.

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