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Stack of credit cards Source: Shutterstock.

Credit-card losses are outpacing auto and home loans at a rate not seen in at least a decade. The question is whether banks’ plastic problem is an outlier or an omen.

For now, there’s no cause for panic. The strong U.S. economy and low unemployment means most consumers are able to stay current on debt payments — new foreclosures and bankruptcies fell to the lowest level in at least 15 years in 2018. Yet the uptick in card losses is unmistakable. Credit-reporting company Experian Plc said some of the blame goes to banks offering credit to riskier borrowers, and the Federal Reserve has noted a spike in late payments by the elderly.

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