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Credit card default rates improving

The nation's top credit card issuers on Tuesday said the number of accounts that slipped into default fell to their lowest points of 2010 in December, and signs point to continued improvement in coming months.

Five of the six biggest card issuers posted their lowest rates for charge-offs, or accounts written off as uncollectible.

While the rates of balances companies wrote off remains high by historical standards, they fell consistently throughout the year.

Importantly, rates for payments late by 30 days or more also reached lows. That figure, also known as the delinquency rate, is considered an indicator for what's to come, which means charge-offs can be expected to keep falling through the first few months of 2011.

"The numbers this month are as low as we have ever seen them," said Jeff Hibbs, a Moody's Investors Service analyst.

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