As Americans successfully paid off their credit card debt in greater numbers, it seems that they simply closed their accounts to keep themselves from accruing even more.
According to the latest quarterly report from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, American consumers were able to reduce their total nationwide debt to $11.7 trillion in the second quarter, down $178 billion (1.5 percent) from the previous period. That was a decline of $812 billion (6.5 percent) from the peak, which was seen at the close of the third quarter in 2008. Consumer debt has fallen each of the seven quarters since then.
The report also noted that Americans closed 4 million credit card accounts in the last three months, as the total nationwide number of open balances dropped to 381 million from 385 million at the end of the previous quarter. That number was also down 23.2 percent from its peak in the second quarter of 2008.
Consumers seem to have gotten a better handle on their finances over the last few months as credit card and mortgage delinquencies dropped in July.