Canadians getting better at managing consumer debt

The delinquency rate is down to 2.58%

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TORONTO – Credit monitoring agency TransUnion says Canadians appear to be getting better at handling consumer debt.

In its latest report, TransUnion says a shrinking percentage of debt payments are overdue by 90 days or more — even though the average balance owing continues to rise.

It says there was an overall delinquency rate of 2.58 per cent on non-mortgage consumer debts in the second quarter.

That was down from a delinquency rate of 2.78 per cent in the second quarter of 2013 and 2.69 per cent in 2014.

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TransUnion’s average consumer debt number rose to $21,028 in the three months ended June 30, about $148 higher than in the second quarter of 2014.

Lines of credit accounted for 35 per cent of all non-mortgage consumer debt, which also includes credit cards and car loans.

TransUnion’s director of research and analysis, Jason Wang, says the trends show Canadians are increasingly aware of the importance of making payments on time and that they have the capacity to do so.

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“The recent interest rate cuts may have, in part, made it easier to manage lines of credit, which typically carry variable rates,” Wang said in a statement.

The Bank of Canada has cut a key rate twice this year — to 0.75 per cent in January and to 0.50 per cent in July — and commercial lenders followed the central bank’s lead by dropping their variable rates.

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