Credit Card delinquencies hit index record - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Credit Card delinquencies hit index record

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By Wainwright Jeffers - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - More news that could add to your financial stress, for the second straight month, a record number of Americans were late with credit card payments.

There's no time like the present to pay down that credit card debt, but fewer people are doing it.

"Our business has increased and that's because people simply need the help," said Irma Whitten, CCCS Albany CEO.

Fitch's Prime Credit Card Delinquency Index, which measures credit card debt more than 60 days late, hit 4 percent, up 1/4 of a percent since December.

Irma Whitten with Consumer Credit Counseling Service says it's because many people are only paying for the essentials.

"Times are tough and people are simply paying their living expenses and not paying the credit card debt," said Whitten.

With some not paying it means bad news for others doing everything right.

They're seeing their credit limits slashed, and maybe even higher rates.

"Credit card companies are raising interest rates as well as decreasing credit limits," said Whitten.

American Express is giving some customers $300 to give up their accounts as the company tries to reduce the number of delinquent accounts.

To get the money, customers who receive the offer must pay off the card balance by the end of April.

"Now the very first thing that consumers should remember is to put the credit cards away," said Whitten.

Putting them away and paying them off, but Whitten understands for some it may be tough.

"These times may seemingly be the time to use credit cards if you don't have a job and you have to eat and there's a credit card in your pocket then the inclination is to use it," said Whitten said Whitten.

Most of those customers American Express is trying to get rid of have already received the offer.

They'll get the $300 dollar check only after they pay the balance and close the account.

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