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Americans paying credit cards on time, but lag on mortgages

While more Americans are paying their credit card bills on time, a growing number are paying their mortgages 60 or more days late, according to research by Experian, the leading global information services company.

Nationally, since 2007, the number of credit card payments that are 60 days or more overdue declined by 20 percent, the study found. In contrast, 25 percent more consumers are paying their mortgages 60 days late.

In 30 of the nation’s largest metropolitan areas, the percentage of late credit card payments decreased significantly, with Cleveland showing the most improvement, Experian reports. Residents of the “Rock and Roll Capital of the World” improved their payment rate by nearly 35 percent between 2007 and 2011.

Mortgage payment rates, however, did not fare as well over the same time period in many metropolitan areas across the country. The percentage of missed mortgage payments (considered to be payments 60 or more days overdue), rose dramatically in 26 regions in the study, and improved in just four.

Portland, Ore., fared the worst, with nearly a 100 percent increase in the number of missed mortgage payments. Phoenix (78.4 percent), Baltimore (66.8 percent), Seattle (65.1 percent) and New York (49.4 percent) rounded out the list of the five cities with the highest increase in missed payments. At the other end of the spectrum, the number of late mortgage payments actually declined in Cleveland, Minneapolis, Denver and Detroit.

“In looking at the numbers, we’re seeing that even in the cities at the bottom of the list, consumers are meeting their bankcard payment obligations better than before the recession,” says Michele Raneri, vice president of analytics, Experian. “While the Experian data shows an overall improvement to these 60-day delinquencies, as much as a 30 percent improvement is seen in the key Texas cities, which is a positive sign in what has been a slow economic recovery.”

While the trend is positive on the bankcard side, the mortgage side is continuing to suffer in most of the markets. Delinquent payments and collections can have a major negative impact on a credit score and a consumer’s ability to obtain credit.

Experian offers these tips for consumers to consider regarding payment behavior:

* Make sure your payments are current, and do not let them be late again. The longer your history of on-time payments, the less impact the delinquencies will have on your creditworthiness.

* If you miss a payment on an individual account, that payment may impact your ability to open joint accounts because both credit histories will be considered.

For more information on managing credit, visit www.experian.com/credit-education/credit-information.html.

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