Americans’ monthly spending on credit cards is on the rise again, according to

Chicago-based research firm Synovate.

Households with credit cards are spending an average of $1,559 monthly across all credit cards in their wallets in 2010, a 6% increase from $1,471 in 2009, according to Synovate’s data.

Anuj Shahani, Synovate’s director of competitive tracking services, says this robust spend on cards indicates that the economy may not be as gloomy as some believe. “We all are still paying down debt; however, what we are seeing in our data are that we are once again spending on our credit cards.”

High unemployment and “strategic defaults” may also be driving the higher card-spending trends, Shahani says. “Those individuals [who are out of work] have no choice but to charge more on their credit cards to provide them with funding as they have no cash in-flow,” he says. And he stays strategic defaults, in which consumers make a choice not to pay a debt despite the ability to pay, are helping keep delinquency rates low on credit cards; households are staying current on credit cards so they can use them while defaulting on their mortgages.

Synovate’s credit card tracking service Mail Monitor also reports that it has recorded the third consecutive quarterly increase in credit card mailings since the third quarter of 2009. “We are seeing the credit card issuers get back to market, trying to entice consumers once again,” Shahani said in a statement.

During Q2 2010, U.S. households received 640.3 million credit card offers, an 83.4% increase from 349.1 million in Q2 2009.

JPMorgan Chase & Co. leads the pack in mailings, putting out 169.5 million offers in Q2, up 339% from 38.6 million in Q2 2009. Citigroup Inc. mailed 95.9 million offers, up 71% from 56.1 million last year. Discover Financial Services mailed 61.8 million offers, up 70% from 36.4 million last year.

In addition to boosting mailings, issuers are offering more incentives for consumers to sign up for new cards, as 71% of card offers included introductory or promotional rates, according to Mail Monitor. “Issuers are willing to offer you a 0% intro rate for purchases, if that’s what it takes to become the top card in your wallet,” Shahani said.

Synovate Mail Monitor expects issuers to keep increasing mailings. It predicts that issuers will mail 2.25 billion credit card offers by the end of the year, a 62% increase from the 1.39 billion mailed in 2009.

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