Calgary

Credit card delinquencies spike 23% in Alberta, Saskatchewan as national rate rises only slightly

A new study from TransUnion says Alberta and Saskatchewan both posted huge spikes in serious credit card delinquencies last year, compared to a modest 3.2 per cent increase nationally.

TransUnion report says 4.6% of credit cards in Alberta seriously past due

TransUnion says 4.6 per cent of the credit cards in Alberta were seriously past due at the end of 2016. (Elise Amendola/Associated Press)

A new study from TransUnion says Alberta and Saskatchewan both posted huge spikes in serious credit card delinquencies last year, compared to a modest 3.2 per cent increase nationally. 

The study says 4.6 per cent of the credit cards in Alberta were 90 days or more past due in the fourth quarter of 2016 — up 23 per cent from the previous year.

Saskatchewan's delinquency rate also spiked by 22.7 per cent, but still remained below the national average at 3.96 per cent.

TransUnion says the two oil-producing provinces were the main reason for a modest increase in the national credit card delinquency rate, which rose to 4.2 per cent.

"TransUnion published a study in July of 2015 regarding the impact of falling oil prices on provinces heavily reliant on the energy industry, such as Alberta and Saskatchewan," the credit agency said in a release.

"The study forewarned both lenders and the public that double-digit delinquency rises for these areas would likely occur, a risk that current data confirm has indeed been realized."

Meantime, both Ontario and British Columbia saw their delinquency rates fall just below the national average of 4.21 per cent in the fourth quarter, while Quebec's rate was up slightly.

TransUnion says Canada's average outstanding credit card balance rose by nearly $100 to $4,094 per card.

Nationally, the average non-mortgage debt level was $21,912 in the fourth quarter of 2016. In Alberta, the average was $27,773 and in Saskatchewan it was $24,411. 

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