Moody's: November credit card payments slip

AP News
Posted: Dec 29, 2009 1:23 PM

More U.S. credit card users fell further behind on their payments in November, Moody's Investor's Services said Tuesday.

The charge-off rate on U.S. credit cards, as measured by Moody's Credit Card Index, rose to 10.56 percent last month after falling for the two previous months. October's charge-off rate was 10.04 percent.

The charge-off rate measures those credit card account balances written off as uncollectable, as an annualized percentage of total outstanding principal balance. The record-high of 10.76 percent was reached in June.

The delinquency rate also rose, reaching 6.2 percent in November from 6.1 percent in October. That includes all credit card payments that are between 30 days and 180 days late, but have not yet been written off. This figured peaked at 6.4 percent reached in March.

One positive sign was that while the number of people who are late paying rose, the dollar amount of delinquent balances is lower than a year ago for cards issued by three of the six largest card issuers.

The early stage delinquency rate, which measures payments that are 30 to 60 days late, slipped to 1.6 percent from 1.66 percent in October. Moody's said this measure is volatile and the improvement may not indicate any consumer trends.

Moody's expects delinquencies to continue to rise through the winter. The charge-off rate is forecast to peak at between 12 percent and 13 percent in mid-2010.

The principal payment rate, or the average amount of principal cardholders repay each month, slipped to 16.42 percent in November from 17.31 percent in October.