Defaults down, getting credit cards getting easier

NEW YORK (AP) ? Credit card defaults dropped so sharply this year that banks may pick up their pace of opening new accounts in 2012.

People with moderate credit scores should find it easier to obtain cards next year, thanks in part to the strides existing card holders have made in getting their payments in on time.

The top six card companies say November defaults and late payments remained largely below the levels typical before the Great Recession. Moody’s credit agency said that should mean companies will be readier to lend to customers who have had trouble making payments in the past. About 8 million people have been shut out of the credit market the last few years.

Some banks already began opening accounts for customers with less-than-stellar credit histories in the third quarter.