Bank-issued credit card delinquencies fell to 2.47% in the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31, the lowest mark since 1994, the American Bankers Association reported Tuesday.

The percentage of credit card accounts 30 days or more overdue was roughly half the record high of 5.01% set in 2009 and far below the 15-year average of 3.87%. It also was down significantly from the previous quarter when 2.75% of credit card customers were delinquent.

In fact, bank-card delinquencies fell throughout 2012, reports ABA chief economist James Chessen.

"Consumers continue to carefully manage their finances in an effort to get debt levels under control and build up a secure financial base," he said in a statement.

Delinquencies in all three home-related categories - home equity loans, home equity lines of credit and property improvement loans - also fell during the fourth quarter, signs of the burgeoning housing market recovery, Chessen said.

Late payments on auto loans arranged through third parties, such as car dealers, also dropped in the fourth quarter to 1.85%, down from 2.08% the previous quarter, according to the report.

While credit card delinquencies are dropping, some Americans are falling behind on other loan payments. Delinquencies on mobile home and boat loans increased slightly at the end of 2012, according to the ABA report.

A separate report released by the New York Federal Reserve Board in March stated that total student debt has nearly tripled over the past eight years. Student debt reached $966 billion as of the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31, with a 70% increase in both the number of borrowers and the average balance per person.

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