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Agency reports credit card blues


Credit card delinquency rates jumped in the first quarter, possibly indicating that consumers are using tax refunds to pay day-to-day expenses, CNNMoney.com reported after the release today of a report by a credit reporting agency.

The delinquency rate — which is the ratio of borrowers 90 days or more delinquent on one or more of their credit cards — increased to 1.32% in the first quarter of 2009, a 9.1 percent increase over the previous quarter and 11% over the previous year, according to the report from TransUnion LLC.

The average borrower debt rose 4.09 percent from the previous year to $5,729, TransUnion said. The agency uses data from 27 million anonymous, individual credit files.

“This increase could be an indication that tax refund checks, typically used to pay down balances in during the first quarter in years past, are now being used to cover daily living expenses,” said Ezra Becker, of TransUnion’s financial services group, in a written statement.

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