Ignore the Stats: Credit Card Debt Still a Big Problem
Michelle Singletary: Numbers look good because of bank write-offs
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 18, 2010 3:33 PM CDT
Credit card debt is still a problem for consumers.   (AP Photo/Jochen Krause, File)

(Newser) – A recent spate of reports suggests that consumers are finally getting smart about plastic by paying down their credit card debt. Hold the celebration, writes Michelle Singletary. A closer look shows that one of the big reasons overall debt is shrinking is not because consumers are paying it back but because banks are writing it off as hopeless.

"As the saying goes, the devil is in the details," she writes in the Washington Post. "And that's quite an appropriate saying when you consider the financial havoc credit card debt can cause." With joblessness increasing, many people are resorting to plastic for survival after depleting their savings. Far from being "reformed spendthrifts," she writes, "too many people are still leaning on credit in these lean times."