Credit card defaults have been rising for about a year, and observers say measures that issuers have taken in recent months will make the problem worse, at least in the short term.

Issuers have been reducing the number of cards they offer, freezing balance transfers, and lowering credit limits. By decreasing the availability of credit to many consumers, analysts said, these measures could push more of them into defaults and raise chargeoff rates. However, some of the analysts also said issuers may be accelerating inevitable defaults, rather than causing defaults that would not happen otherwise.

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