Some facts and figures from the recent credit nightmare

Here’s a quick rundown of some of the latest trends from the world of bankruptcy and debt, compiled by syndicated columnist Ylan Q. Mui of the Washington Post:

The number of late payments on credit cards dropped to a six month low in March.

Over $100 billion in credit card debt has been slashed in teh past year. But that includes debt discharged in bankruptcy as well and written off as uncollectible by banks, as well as additional payments made by consumers.

Almost 6% of people are one month behind on a credit card bill, and a little more than 4% are more than two months behind.

American Express is seeing more customers making the minimum payments on their cards.

The stubbornly high jobless rate and small gains in incomes still make it difficult for consumers to keep digging themselves out of debt.

According to government data, the amount of disposable income that consumers must use to pay off their debt has dropped to less than 6 percent for the first time in more than a decade, an indication that our debt load is dwindling.

The personal savings rate has stabilized at around 3.6% for the past couple of months. This rate was negative during the boom years when many Americans were overspending.

John Ulzheimer, president of consumer education for Credit.com, has summed up the overall situation just about right; “If we’ve learned anything from the credit nightmare it’s that we were partially responsible for it ourselves.’’

 

By Doug Beaton

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