A new TransUnion analysis found that consumers made an estimated $72 billion more in payments on their credit cards than purchases between the first quarters of 2009 and 2010. This is in contrast to the belief that charge-offs (where creditors write off debt that they deem is uncollectable as a loss) were the primary driver of lower credit card balances.
“Many people in the financial services industry believe charge-offs have been the leading factor in declining credit card debt since the start of the recession,” said Ezra Becker, vice president of research and consulting in TransUnion’s financial services business unit. “In fact, some have stated that charge-offs account for the entire change in card balances over the past two to three years. In reality, the dynamic is more complex. Our analysis shows that consumers have made a concerted effort to pay down their credit cards during these uncertain economic times.” Source: TransUnion Press Release