Reports from several corners show that Americans are handling their debt better than the U.S. government.
First up, a study from TransUnion on Tuesday shows the percentage of borrowers who are at least 90 days late on their credit card payments shrank to 0.6 percent in the second quarter. Not only is that the sixth straight quarterly decline, it's the lowest point in 17 years. The drop also was the largest improvement since the recovery began two years ago.
That's not all.
On Monday, half of the top six credit card issuers posted lower default rates last month versus June. And four of them reported lower delinquency rates.
All this comes as a consumers start to heat up their credit card use after taking years off to pay down household debt.
Credit card limits rose by $60 billion, or 2 percent, in the second quarter, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York's household debt study for April, May and June, released Monday. That marks the second quarterly increase in a row.
Consumers also opened 10 million more credit card accounts in the second quarter for a total of 389 million. But they are keeping cool heads about spending. Balances remained almost 10 percent below their peak in 2008.
The New York Fed noted that the findings, drawn from credit report data supplied by Equifax, shows "continued signs of healing" along with "a modest increase in the willingness of consumers to borrow and banks to lend."
That sounds better than what has come out of Washington recently.
How are you handling your credit cards? Are you willing to put more on them?
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