U.S. credit card delinquencies fell about 32% in the fourth quarter from a year earlier, according to TransUnion.
The credit bureau said Monday that the rate of borrowers who were 90 days or more late in paying their bank-issued credit card bills fell to 0.82%.
Though the average debt of borrowers remained about flat with the third quarter, at $4,965, this figure was down 8.62% from a year earlier.
Credit card originations, meanwhile, rose 19.1% from a year earlier, the second quarter in a row that originations have grown since the recession began in late 2007, TransUnion said.
"Taken together, the recent news on rising consumer spending, increased demand for durable goods, the drop in the personal savings rate and increases in consumer confidence indicate that consumers may now be demonstrating a more optimistic view of their financial outlook — possibly willing to expand their credit card use," Ezra Becker, the vice president of research and consulting in TransUnion's financial services business unit, said in a press release.
However, the credit bureau said it does not expect large increases in balances "in the next couple of quarters" because of continuing high unemployment and high savings rates.