A new consumer debt report released Tuesday points to overall improvement but persistent areas of concern such as the number of accounts in collection and credit card spending. America's Debt Report from Bills.com is a review of data for the first half of the year.
While debt among those seeking debt advice fell nearly 15% to an average of $12,986 and the size of many average debt balances declined, collection accounts and credit card debt continued to rise. The number and size of collection accounts totals 11% of consumers in collection with an 18% increase in average collection balances.
The report also found that balances on three of the top five bank-issued credit cards dropped while four of the top five retail issued cards remained the same or increased, signaling a potential shift from bank-issued credit toward retail specific outlets.
"We are seeing an overall improvement in the debt health of many consumers, and the cycle of consumer deleveraging appears to be continuing," says Brad Stroh, CEO and co-founder of Bills.com.
"However, we hope that this broader shift is not masking some other, more troubling trends such as a willingness to allow accounts to go delinquent or take on additional credit from retailers. Rising student loan debt is also a concern. Banks and lenders are aggressively trying to acquire consumers and build their balance sheets, so consumers must remain 'money-wise.'"
Other highlights from the report include:
• Credit card debt remains the most common type of consumer debt at 53%;
• The number of both student loans and home loans fell slightly, as did average loan balances;
• The average home loan balance dropped significantly: -11% to $149,200.