Overdue Credit Card Bills Hit Record High

WASHINGTON - Charge it! That familiar refrain is producing an unwanted response for more Americans: Your bill is overdue! Surging energy prices, low personal savings and the higher cost of borrowing have combined to produce a record level of overdue credit card bills. The American Bankers Association reported Wednesday that the percentage of credit card accounts 30 or more days past due climbed to an all-time high of 4.81 percent in the April-to-June period. It could grow in the months ahead, experts said.

The previous high of 4.76 percent came during the first three months of the year, in keeping with a generally steady rise over the past several years. "The last two quarters have not been pretty," said Jim Chessen, the association's chief economist.