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Canadians rack up debt — but slowly: Study

Canadians continue to rack up more debt but the speed at which they are piling it on is beginning to slow, the TransUnion credit agency reported yesterday.

Canadians continue to rack up more debt but the speed at which they are piling it on is beginning to slow, the TransUnion credit agency reported yesterday.

The average debt for about 24.8 million Canadians tracked by the report, which excludes mortgages, rose to $25,163 — up 4.3 per cent in the third quarter compared with a year ago.

The main source of non-mortgage debt for Canadians was vehicles, with credit card purchases a distant second.

TransUnion said Canadians seem to be managing their debts better than they were, with delinquency rates and past-due balances dropping across the country.

The national credit card delinquency rate was down nearly 10 per cent in the third quarter of this year, compared with a year ago when the Canadian economy was just beginning to recover from a major recession.

“There continues to be positive signs in the credit market as Canadians slowly manage out of the recession,” said Thomas Higgins, TransUnion’s vice-president of analytics.

“The most positive sign has been the significant decrease in past due balances (outstanding debt that is at least 30 days past due), which has dropped 15 per cent since last year after three years of increases.”

 
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