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Wednesday, 25 February 2009

More missing debt payment

By Francis Chan

MORE consumers here are missing their credit card and personal loan payments but the numbers still fall below the highs recorded during the Sars outbreak in 2003.

According to the latest figures from Credit Bureau Singapore (CBS), the percentage of consumers, who missed at least one credit card payment rose slightly from 1.48 per cent in December 2007, to 1.67 per cent last December.

Similarly, the percentage of delinquent personal loans that were 30 or more days past due also increased from 3.73 per cent in December 2007 to 5.34 per cent in December last year.

The figures were compiled by CBS on a monthly basis from a data pool of over 1.1 million credit card accounts and more than 65,000 personal loan customers.

'The worsening economy, the rising unemployment level, and the need to ramp up their year-end spending have all taken a toll on consumers' ability to manage their credit card and personal loan payments in the fourth quarter of 2008,' said CBS executive director William Lim.

The latest statistics from CBS show that more consumers may be 'under stress from the impact of layoffs and the economic downturn, and are struggling to pay their bills on time,' he added.

CBS also found that over the last four months of last year, the percentage of consumers who missed at least one payment on one or more of their credit cards climbed steadily from 1.45 per cent in September to 1.51 per cent in October to 1.56 per cent in November before reaching 1.67 per cent in December.

The proportion of consumers who had delinquent personal loan accounts that were 30 or more days past also increased from 4.24 per cent in September last year to 5.34 per cent in December.

Missed payments for credit card bills and personal loans, however, remained below the levels registered during Sars.

In 2003, during the peak of the Sars outbreak, monthly average delinquency rates were 2.61 and 6.05 per cent for credit cards and personal loans respectively.

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