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Credit card debt up last month

By Lucy Lazarony · Bankrate.com
Wednesday, March 14, 2012
Posted: 5 pm ET

A New Year's push by U.S. consumers to pay down credit card debt didn't last very long.

In February, credit card debt increased slightly to $6,105 nationally, up from $6,069 in January, according to a new study released Wednesday from CreditKarma.com.

In the first month of the year, U.S. consumers had managed to trim their credit card debt by 8 percent, dropping to $6,069 in January from $6,576 in December.

Even with the slight increase in credit card debt in February, credit card debt is still down by 15 percent from a year ago. In February 2011, credit card debt was $7,168 nationally, according to CreditKarma.com.

"That's a general trend that we see," said Ken Lin, chief executive officer of CreditKarma.com. "Consumers continue to pay down debt."

Lin says he expects the debt reduction to continue through the second quarter of this year, but says that card spending may increase in the second half as banks and credit card companies reach out and sign up new credit card customers.

The states with the highest levels of credit card debt are Alaska ($7,628) and Hawaii ($7,457), while the lowest are Mississippi ($4,693) and Louisiana ($5,123), according to CreditKarma.com,

Did you resolve to pay down credit card debt at the beginning of the year? How are you doing on your goal?

Would an offer for a new credit card tempt you to start spending again?

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