Bank credit card delinquencies rose 11 percent for the first quarter. Indicating that cash strapped consumers have chosen to rather spend their tax refunds elsewhere rather than shrinking their debt balance.
The delinquency rate for the U.S. rose to 1.32% for consumers who were three months or more behind payments on their cards, up from 1.19% a year earlier, according to a report published Monday by credit-reporting bureau TransUnion LLC.
The delinquency rate for the first quarter jumped 9.1% from the previous quarter.
The average total debt on bank cards also rose, jumping to $5,776 from $5,548 last year.
Balances typically rise in the first quarter, as holiday spending comes due, said Ezra Becker, director of consulting and strategy in TransUnion's financial services group.
But retail sales results showed holiday spending took a steep drop. That likely means higher balances now reflect consumers using credit cards to pay for necessities, he said.