The number of U.K. credit cards with balances that are over-limit reached its lowest point in more than two years, according to data from Fair Isaac Corp. (FICO).

Through the first quarter, 1.9% of U.K. credit cards have a balance that is over the limit, FICO revealed. Two years ago, this figure was 2.6%.

FICO's data sample represents 26 million accounts, which is nearly half of all credit cards issued in the U.K.
The reduction in over-limit balances happened in all types of card accounts, including student, premium, and Irish cards. Student credit cards with over limit balances dropped the most, down 55% from March 2012.

"People became more cautious with their credit cards during the economic crisis, and they are maintaining their good habits," says Stacey West, a business consultant for Fair Isaac Advisors, in a June 12 press release.

However, new credit cards had about a 60% rise in accounts that were 30 or 60 days delinquent. In March 2013, 2.2% of new accounts were delinquent. As of March 2014, 3.5% were over limit but with smaller balances, West notes.

"Issuers should ensure that new accounts are given appropriate initial limits, should monitor risk and usage metrics, and should have targeted collections strategies in place," West says. "The industry standard approach is to assign specific collection treatments to accounts opens six months or less, but we recommend issuers also pay special attention to accounts open six months to a year."

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