Consumer Comeback Blog

Retail Credit Card Accounts at a 31-month High

The number of open retail credit card accounts has exceeded 175 million in July for the first since December 2009, according to a report from credit monitoring agency Equifax.

Equifax’s data also showed that lending to subprime borrowers increased nearly 14%, over its 2010 low, in May. The relaxation of lending standards has resulted in the opening of 13.8 million new retail card accounts, which represents a 10% increases over last year’s totals.

Additionally, for January-May 2012, the limits on newly issued retail cards reached $25.1 billion, a 16% increase from the same time in 2011. The overall limits on retail cards increased 10% in July from June’s total of $290 billion to $320 billion.

Retail card balances are also up $2.6 billion from 2011, reaching a total of $51.5 billion in July 2012. Retail card delinquency rates have dropped nearly 15% and write off dollar rates have declined to 8%for the first time since Dec. 2007, a 56 month low.