Atlantans taking on less credit card debt

Overall consumer credit card debt in metro Atlanta declined by .79 percent from August 2011 to August 2012, new data released by Equifax shows.

Of the top 25 markets examined, 13 had  lower credit card debt. Detroit declined 1.8 percent, Las Vegas 1.88 percent and Los Angeles 1.70 percent.

Among markets that experienced increases in credit card debt, Houston led at 1.88 percent, followed by Washington/Baltimore at 1.15 percent.

Credit card debt increased 0.2 percent nationwide in the last year.

“The differences between the metro areas illustrate the uneven nature of the economic recovery,” said Trey Loughran, president of the Personal Solutions unit at Atlanta-based Equifax. “In places where the housing bust was the worst, such as Florida, California and Nevada, and in places like Detroit and Ohio where the recession was particularly deep because of a dependence on manufacturing, consumers are continuing to be prudent about using credit.

“In other pockets of the country, consumers are feeling a bit more confident to take on new debt.”

Equifax points out that Americans have been using credit cards far less since the recession. Total consumer credit card debt last month was down 22 percent from its peak in October 2008.

Said Loughran, “We are seeing the trend of the ‘disciplined consumer.’ We don’t know whether this is a long-term change yet, but generally speaking, Americans today continue to be prudent about credit.”

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