This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here
TheStreet Open House

New Credit Card Limits Highest Since 2009, Says Equifax





Consumer credit cards continued their recovery through the end of September, with a major reporting agency's data showing new credit originations returning to levels last seen three years ago. According to Equifax's latest National Consumer Credit Trends Report, the amount of new credit card limits opened in the first three quarters of 2012 hit $675 billion, up from just $523 billion during the same period in 2010.

However, the report also indicates that those new limits represent just under a third of all outstanding balances. In a statement to reporters, Equifax Chief Economist Amy Crews Cutts cheered the data as a sign that consumers have used credit cards responsibly, even as banks loosen some of their underwriting guidelines.

Although retail credit cards drove most of the gains in 2012, bank credit cards saw a significantly larger percentage increase during the past two years. Retailers and their issuing partners opened up $47.5 billion in new credit for customers through November 2012, a 17 percent increase from 2010's report. Meanwhile, with over $132 billion in new credit limits through the end of September, bank credit cards have jumped 44 percent from the low point of the recession.

Credit utilization remains low across most bank credit card accounts, with Equifax reporting that consumers used just 22 percent of their available limits. During the same period, year-over-year write-off rates continued to drop another 20 percent, demonstrating a cultural shift to using cash and preserving credit. The number of active credit cards has stabilized among the 300 million mark, however banks have yet to see a downward swing in the quality of their portfolios, Equifax analysts reported.

Because originations remain about one third lower than their pre-recession peak, Cutts suggested that the "consumer-led recovery" has been working, but that Americans still need more time to fully regain the ground they lost in 2008's credit crunch. Equifax officials noted that a new auto loans hit a five-year high in September, mirroring the improvement economists have seen in unsecured borrowing.

null

Select the service that is right for you!

COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Action Alerts PLUS
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
  • Weekly roundups
TheStreet Quant Ratings
Try it NOW
Only $49.95/yr

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
  • Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Stocks Under $10
Try it NOW

David Peltier, uncovers low dollar stocks with extraordinary upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
  • Weekly roundups
Dividend Stock Advisor
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
  • Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Real Money Pro
Try it NOW

All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.

Product Features:
  • Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
  • Intraday commentary & news
  • Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Options Profits
Try it NOW

Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • 100+ monthly options trading ideas
  • Actionable options commentary & news
  • Real-time trading community
  • Options TV
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!
DOW 17,131.97 +100.83 0.59%
S&P 500 1,998.98 +14.85 0.75%
NASDAQ 4,552.7590 +33.8570 0.75%

Brokerage Partners

Rates from Bankrate.com

  • Mortgage
  • Credit Cards
  • Auto

Free Newsletters from TheStreet

My Subscriptions:

After the Bell

Before the Bell

Booyah! Newsletter

Midday Bell

TheStreet Top 10 Stories

Winners & Losers

Register for Newsletters
Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs