As people adopt more stringent spending patterns, they tend to rack up less credit card debt and improve their credit score.
However, according to credit card usage monitor CreditKarma, debt is dropping but credit scores aren't positively trending, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. The news source cites specific data from California, finding that between October 2010 and 2011, credit card debt dropped 13 percent from $7,345 to $6,408. Nationwide, the average credit card debt fell 11 percent during that same time period. While this trend proves consumers are making more responsible credit decisions
, their actions aren't reflected in their credit scores. During the same one-year stretch, the national average credit score fell from 666 to 661. According to CreditKarma chief executive Ken Lin, it's a result of the delayed effects of the recession. "Mortgage foreclosures take a long time to work through the system and affect consumer credit scores," Lin told the media outlet. "Unemployment insurance has been sustaining many of the people who would have defaulted. As a result of all these factors, credit scores tend to be a lagging indicator of the economy." According to data from the Fair Isaac Corporation, 8 percent of Americans have seen their scores drop by 51 points or more this year, Mint reports.