The number of open credit cards, the share of cardholders with seriously delinquent accounts and the amount of debt are all on the rise, TransUnion finds
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The total number of credit cards was up to 418.6 million at the end of 2017, representing a 3.5 percent increase over the 404.4 million cards that were open a year earlier. The trend since 2014 has been repeatedly up, with 2015 to 2016 seeing a hefty annual gain of 6.1 percent.
Delinquencies of 90 or more days also rose in 2017, up to 1.87 percent of accounts. That’s only a modest increase over 2016’s rate of 1.79 percent. But with 2014’s share pegged at 1.48 percent, the serious delinquency rate has risen almost four-tenths of a percentage point in three years.
Also climbing is the average credit card balance, reaching $5,644 per cardholder at the end of 2017. It’s the second year in a row that the average balance has grown 2.8 to 2.9 percent over the previous year.
TransUnion, one of the three major credit bureaus, prepares its quarterly report of the credit card, auto loan and mortgage markets based on credit report data analyzed by Prama Analytics. Its Q4 2017 Industry Insights Report was released Feb. 20.