Credit card delinquencies still rising


Credit card delinquencies continued to rise in the first quarter of 2009, according to the latest data.

The Wall Street Journal
reports (subscription required) that "For the first three months of the year, the delinquency rate in the U.S. rose to 1.32% for consumers who were three months or more behind payments on their cards, up 11% from 1.19%

By 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.

Particularly troubling is the fact that the delinquency rate appears to have continued its ascent even as tax-refund checks were mailed -- suggesting that many Americans were so strapped for cash that they couldn't use the refund checks to pay down debt as they have in years past.

On the other side, Fitch Ratings reports (subscription required) that credit card delinquencies pulled back a bit in May following four straight months of new record highs.

Transunion doesn't expect credit card delinquencies to peak until late 2010 or 2011.

And here's the worst part: Now that the United States government has a major stake in many of the largest banks, we lose on both ends. As the credit card industry charges off bad debts, guess who's footing the bill? We are.