The number of open credit card accounts across the country declined once again in the third quarter, as it did in the previous three periods, according to the Federal Reserve Board's latest household credit report. But the rate at which Americans shut down old accounts as a way of avoiding credit card debt slowed, as 217 million accounts were closed during the four quarters ending September 30, and 158 million new ones were opened.
Further, the number of credit account inquiries within the last six months, a measure of demand for consumer credit, rose for the second-straight quarter, the government report said. Even still, the number of open balance declined from 381 million to 378 million in the third quarter, proving consumers are less willing to take on credit card debt.
Many may be shying away from credit card debt in light of the recent economic downturn, and demand for new accounts isn't likely to increase until the economy improves further.