ATLANTA, Aug. 27, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- For the first time since December 2009, the number of open retail credit card accounts exceeded the 175 million mark this past July, according to Equifax's August National Consumer Credit Trends Report.
The latest data also shows that lending to subprime borrowers in May 2012 increased by nearly 14 percent over its recession low in 2010. Relaxed lending standards by lenders have resulted in the origination of some 13.8 million new retail card accounts year-to-date through May 2012, representing a 10 percent increase over January – May 2011 totals.
"The economic recovery is increasing both demand for new credit cards and the supply of credit," said Equifax Chief Economist Amy Crews Cutts. "However, while consumers are seeking new credit card accounts, they are not increasing their use of that newly available credit as fast. Utilization rates of card limits continue to fall, and, additionally, we are seeing increasing payment ratios at the same time."Other highlights from the most recent data include: Retail Credit Cards
- New retail credit card credit limits reached $25.1 billion for January - May 2012, which is an increase of more than 16 percent from the same time a year ago.
- Retail card balances are up $2.6 billion from same time a year ago, reaching $51.5 billion in July 2012
- Delinquency rates among retail cards in July 2012 saw nearly a 15 percent decrease from the same time a year ago.
- Retail card credit limits increased 10 percent from June 2012 ( $290 billion) to July 2012 ( $320 billion)
- Write off dollar rates have declined to 8 percent for the first time since December 2007, a 56-month low. Write off dollar rates surpassed 14 percent during the recession.