Credit card holders making fewer late payments

Fewer American credit card holders are making late payments by a month or more according to financial experts, signaling that improvement is near as U.S. credit card companies continue to report mixed progress in reducing defaults.

JPMorgan Chase & Co., Discover Financial Services and Capital One Financial Corp., three of the six top card issuers, reported lower default rates in July, compared with June, reports.

Bank of America Corp., Citigroup Inc. and American Express Co. cards had higher July rates.

Bank of America said the July hike reflects a one time impact from their new approach, which is more conservative in recognizing losses on accounts of cardholders who have died, Forbes reports. Had the new approach not been implemented, the bank's July's charge-off rate would have been 7.14 percent.

Delinquency rates for customers a month or more behind on payments dropped for four of the six issuers. Capital One, which reported a slight increase, and American Express reported no change, which were the exceptions, reports.

Financial experts said reasons for the decline in late payments may include households carrying less debt, credit being harder to obtain and borrowers paying off their credit cards before paying their mortgages, according to

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