Residents of California often turn to credit cards when finances get tight. With the recent downturn in the economy, many turned to credit cards for expenses they used to only use cash for. With this shift, many saw an increase in their credit card debt over the last few years.

But first quarter figures show that credit card debt and late credit cards payment averages are down in so far this year. The first quarter consists of January through March. Many attribute this to the fact that some Americans - including those in Los Angeles - use their income tax refunds to pay down credit card debt.

The rate of overdue payments of at least 90 days fell from .85 percent last year to .69 percent in the first quarter this year. The rate of overdue payments was also down from .73 in the fourth quarter of last year.

The overdue payment rate is at historically low levels. The average rate is 1.03 percent. The credit card information dates back to the mid 1990s.

Due to the downturn in the economy, many Americans tried, to control the debt they could such as credit card debt, and ignored other debt like mortgages. The steady increase in the economy has also led to an increase in consumer confidence which means that consumers are more interested in spending and paying down more debt.

One way credit card debt can be lowered and taken care of is through bankruptcy. There are two types of personal bankruptcy: Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. Chapter 7 bankruptcy allows for the debtor to discharge all debt including credit card debt. Chapter 13 allows the debtor to create a debt reorganization plan to pay down debt.

Source: Yahoo! Finance, "Average credit card debt, late payments fall in 1Q," Alex Veiga, May 21, 2013