Americans have been far more conscientious about their attempts to avoid falling behind on their credit card debt in the past few years, and that trend is expected to continue throughout the year even as balances grow.
Consumers' credit quality will likely improve this year, as charged off credit card accounts are expected to drop by between 15 and 20 percent to a new total of just 4.5 percent of all balances, according to new data from Moody's Investors Service. However, this rate of improvement is well below the one seen last year, when defaults dropped 40 percent.
And even as more consumers find debt relief by making increased payments and dodging charge offs, it's also believed that balances will continue to grow as card use expands, the report said. While in many cases consumers have switched their habits so that they use their cards but pay off their balances at the end of the month, it's believed debt totals will increase some 5 percent by the end of the year.
Consumers have been far more conscientious about paying off debts in recent years, but experts say both balances and defaults must hit bottom and begin growing again at some point.