Credit card debt drops to lowest level in 8 years

The highest state average credit card debt remained in Alaska at $7,148, followed by Tennessee at $5,654 and Hawaii at $5,594.

The lowest debt was in Iowa with $3,792, followed by North Dakota ($4,097) and West Virginia ($4,104).

A total of 22 states recorded debt higher than the national average.

Only three areas showed an increase in average credit card debt from the prior quarter: Alaska, Oklahoma, and the District of Columbia. 

Alabamans led the way in paying off their debt, dropping their average balance by 22.4 percent to $4,753 from the first quarter. Tennessee cardholders decreased their debt by 15.5 percent and Mississippi dropped their debt by 14.2 percent. 

The delinquency rate fell below 1 percent for the first time since second quarter of 2007 as cardholders past due by 90 days or more fell to 0.92 percent, from 1.17 percent a year ago.

TransUnion predicts the national delinquency rate will remain below 1 percent for the rest of the year. 

The delinquency rate was highest in Nevada at 1.5 percent of cardholders, followed by Florida, 1.24 percent; Arizona, 1.11 percent; and California, 1.08 percent — all states hit hardest by the housing crisis. 

The lowest rates were in North Dakota, at 0.54 percent, and South Dakota, at 0.55 percent.

In all, 16 states fared worse than the national average for delinquencies.

Becker said the foreclosure crisis could be helping reduce balances and lower delinquency rates because people would have extra cash when they don't pay their mortgage. 

"That can provide extra money to pay down credit cards," he said.

Besides lower debt, consumers are getting fewer new credit cards as the number of new accounts dropped almost 6.5 percent from last year.