Credit card defaults increase even as delinquency drops

Credit card defaults increase even as delinquency drops The rate at which consumers fell behind on paying down credit card debt continued to generally improve in April, but the charge off rate seen by the nation's top lenders increased because of an anomaly with one issuer's schedule.

Due to a quirk with its calendar, Citi had an additional three days in April to write off seriously late credit card payments as uncollectable, and as such, the charge off rate for the nation's top lenders spiked for the first time this year in April, according to new statistics from Fitch Ratings. In all, the charge off rate for these financial institutions climbed to 5.44 percent from 5.17 percent, but would have remained flat if not for Citi's added time.

At the same time, the rate of late-stage delinquencies – those accounts 60 days or more behind – slipped to a low not seen in 17 years, the report said. These balances accounted for just 2.03 percent of all handled by the major lenders, down from 2.14 percent in the same month last year.

Consumers who fall behind on their credit card payments may need to seek some form of debt relief to get out from under the financial burdens they face.