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Credit card issuing increased last year

February 29, 2012

Last year, card issuers and financial institutions issued 14 percent more new cards to consumers, bringing the number up to approximately 42.3 million, according to TransUnion.

Retail stores could see an increase in credit card processing this year as the result of a growing number of consumers taking out lines of credit. Last year, card issuers and financial institutions issued 14 percent more new cards to consumers, bringing the number up to approximately 42.3 million, according to TransUnion.

The credit reporting agency estimates that one million new cards – about a quarter of all of those issued – went to consumers with less-than-perfect credit scores. However, Ezra Becker of TransUnion’s financial services explained that lending standards are still much tighter than they were in 2006 and 2007.

Consumers are becoming more conscientious about their spending, findings indicate. As the number of cards issued has grown, the occurrence of household debt has decreased. In the fourth quarter, just 0.78 percent of cardholders were more than 90 days late making payments, according to TransUnion. Prior to 2008, approximately 2 percent of all accounts were more than three months behind.

Retailers can accommodate an increase in consumer credit by outfitting stores with an updated credit card terminal for faster processing, and accepting all major card brands. 

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