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WASHINGTON (TheStreet) — Americans are cutting their credit card debt and using their cards less, according to a new report from the Federal Reserve.

Revolving credit, which is primarily from credit cards, fell for the 17th consecutive month in February, declining at an annual rate of 13%. The $858.1 billion in revolving credit represents a $100 billion decrease since the fourth quarter of 2008.

Recent studies underscore some trends in credit card usage.

  • The number of new credit cards issued declined 45% last year, according to Equifax Consumer Credit Trends.
  • The average balance on Visa (V) - Get Visa Inc. Class A Report , MasterCard and American Express (AXP) - Get American Express Company Report accounts dropped 5% to $5,434 in the fourth quarter from $5,729 a year earlier.
  • According to a BIGresearch survey in January, 31% of respondents said they pay with cash more often, up from 23% a year earlier. The same study showed that 38% of consumers plan to pay down debt during the next three months, up from 34.4% in December.
  • Issuers will reduce credit card lines by $2.1 trillion during the next 18 months, wiping out nearly 45% of the spending power U.S. consumers have on credit cards, predicts investment bank Oppenheimer.
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During the past 18 months, banks cut credit limits for more than 50 million cardholders. If issuers cut credit lines by 45%, they will force consumers to rely on debit cards and cash. And that might not be a bad thing for the American consumer.

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