Credit card charge offs rise in February

After five consecutive months of improved credit card behavior, a number of American consumers appear to have fallen back into bad habits, as the charge off rate for U.S. credit cards rose in February.

However, the rise is not expected to be long lasting, as Moody's Investors Service said the charge off rate should start falling again during the second quarter of 2011, Dow Jones Newswires reports.

Charge offs are credit card balances that are written off by companies because they think they won't be able to recoup what is owed. Although the rate rose 0.11 percentage points to 7.56 percent in February, last month's figures are still substantially lower than the 11.5 percent peak registered in August of 2009, the report said.

Many consumers who are working hard to pay down their credit card balances and improve their finances may benefit from checking their credit reports regularly. In some cases, individuals who may pay all of their debt obligations in full and on time may still experience credit damage, as a result of an error on their credit report.

Credit repair companies may be a useful resource for these credit users. A credit lawyer may be able to investigate and negotiate an unfair mark on behalf of a consumer to help remove the blemish from the person's credit standing.